The President of Burkina Faso at the CTBTO

President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso today became the first head of state to address the highest decision-making body of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). The President was also given a tour of the control room of the International Data Centre by Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth and Executive Secretary-elect Lassina Zerbo.

Speaking to an audience of diplomats representing the organization's Member States, the President spoke of his country’s support for international peace and security, and described the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as a key element in this context. He also called for the CTBT’s entry into force.
I would like to add my voice to the peace-loving men and women to launch an appeal to all States whose signatures and ratifications are necessary for the Treaty’s entry into force, to do so in the name of peace and security for humanity.

Burkina Faso signed the CTBT on 27 September 1996, shortly after it had been adopted. The ratification, which carries President Compaoré’s signature, followed in April 2002 as one of the first African States.
The President expressed his appreciation for the CTBTO’s capacity-building programme to enable developing countries to play a more active role in the verification of the CTBT and to make use of CTBTO data for disaster warning and scientific research. Experts from Burkina Faso have participated in these programmes.
[CTBTO data] promote a better knowledge and perfect understanding of geological, climatic and environmental phenomena, such as the Earth’s crust, volcanic activity, tsunamis, climate change or the continuous weakening of ecological balances.

The President attended a symbolic hand-over ceremony between Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth and Executive Secretary-elect Lassina Zerbo. It was the last session of the CTBTO’s executive body for Tóth, whose term ends on 31 July 2013. Read his address here . President Compaoré also held a well-attended press conference – listen to the full audio recording here.
It will require vision, perseverance and resilience to ensure the CTBT’s future. We will hopefully not need to survive another wake-up call such as the Cuban Missile Crisis before the adoption of the Partial Test Ban or the Cold War that preceded the CTBT.

Zerbo laid out his vision for his tenure, underlining his dedication to uphold and strengthen the norm against nuclear testing. He explained his initiative to found a “Group of Eminent Persons”, composed of prominent personalities from different Member States. It will hold its first meeting on the margins of the upcoming Article XIV Conference to facilitate the CTBT’s entry into force on 27 September 2013 in New York. The group will seek to flank these efforts.
Zerbo announced that under his leadership, the organization will continue to provide reliable and high-quality monitoring data and keep pace with emerging technologies, while at the same time seeking efficiency and limiting the financial burden on Member States. This new approach includes the concept of a donor support group to explore alternative funding possibilities, an ongoing study to examine potential cost savings and a reduction in long-term consultants. Read his full speech here .
You have placed your trust in Mr Lassina Zerbo to head, as Executive Secretary, the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. I thank you for such a high distinction for a son of Burkina Faso and of Africa.