Science, technology, policy and much more at CTBTO’s biggest ever SnT Conference

More than 1,100 scientists, technologists, policymakers, diplomats, academics, students, journalists and others from nearly 100 countries thronged Vienna’s historic Hofburg Palace from 24-28 June for the CTBT: Science and Technology 2019 Conference (SnT2019), exchanging views and expertise to help achieve a world free of nuclear explosions.

SnT2019 was the the biggest so far in the flagship series of biennial, multidisciplinary conferences, designed to further reinforce the strong relationship between the scientific and technological community and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty Organization (CTBTO). The aim is not only to help ensure that the Treaty’s global verification regime remains at the forefront of scientific and technical innovation, but also to strengthen the synergy between science and technology and policy issues.

“The discussions over the next few days will focus on CTBT technologies and their various applications. But we should never forget that this is one part of a bigger prize,” CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo told a packed opening session in the Hofburg’s glittering Festsaal.

“The progress that we make on locking in the nuclear test ban, on both the scientific and diplomatic fronts, will determine how successful we are in reaching our ultimate goal of making the world more safe, secure and prosperous.”  

In his keynote speech, former Austrian President Heinz Fischer described how scientists and technologists laid the groundwork for the negotiation of the CTBT by providing a scientific and technical consensus on the parameters.

“The CTBTO remains a shining example of how science and technology can help contribute to positive political and diplomatic outcomes,” he said.

As well as the core technical agenda of presentations, discussions and a scientific poster competition, SnT2019 included a strong element of youth engagement. This included a Youth Forum held jointly with the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, and an Innovation Challenge inviting members of the CTBTO Youth Group to present original ideas linking the CTBT to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The awards ceremony for an international childrens’ art competition, run in collaboration with the Spanish NGO Paz y Cooperaci?n, welcomed children from as far away as China, Azerbaijan, Namibia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. (You can see the top entries for yourself here.)

The conference also featured a number of brand new elements. Two round-table discussions were held in the Spanish and French languages respectively, underscoring CTBTO’s commitment to multilingualism, and a special evening panel session explored the theme of Women in Science and Technology.

Other highlights included discussions on the challenges of communicating science to wider audiences, on artificial intelligence, and on how CTBT data can contribute to civil applications such as studying climate change and mitigating disaster risks. Watch the streamed presentations and debates and view the photographs of the SnT2019 below:

FESTSAAL - Science and Technology 2019 Streaming Playlist - Hofburg Palace

24-28 June 2019


RITTERSAAL - Science and Technology 2019 Streaming Playlist - Hofburg Palace

24 - 28 June 2019


FORUM - Science and Technology 2019 Streaming Playlist - Hofburg Palace

24 - 28 June 2019