Major contribution by OPEC to pilot project for the participation of experts from developing countries

Largest Single Contribution by OPEC

A pilot project to enable experts from developing countries to attend technical meetings organized by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is now in its third year. The project is funded solely through voluntary contributions, the largest single one coming from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development (OFID): US$ 100,000. The project was until now mainly funded by voluntary contributions by the CTBTO’s Member States. 17 of them have contributed so far: Austria, China, Finland, Hungary, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish, Director-General of the OFID

“I am extremely grateful to the Director General of the OPEC Fund for International Development, Mr Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish, for this generous financial support."

The experts will participate in a range of meetings in 2009: sessions of the CTBTO’s working group on verification issues (Working Group B), a workshop on National Data Centre (NDC) development and evaluation, and a workshop to further evaluate the Integrated Field Exercise on on-site inspections that took place in 2008 (IFE08).
Project will expand by 50 percent in 2009 The participation of six experts from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru and Thailand was assured in 2007 and 2008. The increase in funding has facilitated the expansion of the pilot project to include nine experts for the current year. The experts are chosen through a special selection process on the basis of nominations by CTBTO Member States. They will be rotated on a two-year basis.

Experts from Developing Countries actively participated in Working Group B, seen here in its February session.

Beneficial for the verification regime in many ways

The experts’ participation is beneficial to the CTBTO and its verification regime, to the experts themselves, and to their respective home countries. The CTBTO profits from the experts’ input to its technical meetings and from the assistance the experts contribute to their respective home countries in better fulfilling their country’s verification responsibilities. The experts profit from an increased level of professional knowledge and experience. And the experts’ home countries can make better use of data and products provided by the CTBTO’s International Data Centre (IDC), including their application for broader civil and scientific purposes not directly related to CTBT verification.
“Feedback from existing experts already suggests that the pilot project is having a highly positive impact on the capacity of their countries to use IDC data and products.”

The pilot project therefore complements the CTBTO’s wider efforts to harness the intellectual and practical muscle of its Member States by maximizing the performance of the International Monitoring System (IMS) without increasing the general budget.

EU support for the integration of developing countries

Independent of the CTBTO pilot project is a recently adopted European Union (EU) Council Joint Action. The EU will provide around 500,000 Euros to the CTBTO for providing extra technical assistance to African countries in order to fully integrate them into the verification regime. Through a 2006 Council Joint Action, the EU has already provided over one million Euros to the CTBTO to cover enhanced electronic and interactive training access for personnel involved in the implementation of the verification regime.