Two-day CTBT-immersion of 2017 UN disarmament fellows

On 11-12 September, this year’s cohort of 25 UN Disarmament Fellows participated in a two-day study visit at CTBTO HQ, which included in-depth briefings on the work of the CTBTO and interactive engagement with senior CTBTO staff members. Launched in 1978 by the UN General Assembly at its first special session devoted to disarmament, the UN Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament aims to train and build the capacity of officials from UN Member States to enable them to participate more effectively in international disarmament deliberations and negotiating fora.

As part of their training programme, the UN Disarmament Fellows spend September visiting several international organizations related to disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, amongst them the CTBTO. This year’s UN Disarmament Fellows included members of foreign ministries, defence ministries and other relevant agencies of: Angola; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Cambodia; Colombia; France; Germany; Guatemala; Haiti; Iran; Israel; Kazakhstan; Madagascar; Malaysia; Mauritius; Morocco; Namibia; Peru; Philippines; Saudi Arabia; the State of Palestine; Timor-Leste; and Uganda.

To kick off their visit, on the morning of 11 September, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo warmly welcomed the fellows and engaged in a lively conversation with the inquisitive group. The fellows probed him on various issues about the CTBT, such as the verification regime, as well as on broader non-proliferation issues. Zerbo stressed the key role of younger diplomats—such as the Disarmament Fellows—in promoting actively the entry into force of the CTBT and in addressing the non-proliferation and disarmament regime through a holistic approach, avoiding the tendency of addressing issues in “silos”.

Senior CTBTO staff members engaged the UN Disarmament Fellows with lectures and discussion sessions on specific aspects of the CTBT including: the International Monitoring System (IMS); the International Data Centre (IDC); Understanding On-Site Inspections (OSI); The Article XIV Process; Legal Aspects of the Treaty and National Implementation Measures; as well as the role of the CTBT in international peace and security.

The UN Disarmament Fellows were also given a tour of IMS test-bed facilities and the IDC Operations Centre. In order to gain hands-on understanding of an aspect of an OSI, on the second day of the programme, the Fellows participated in a Table Top Exercise on OSI Point of Entry Procedures.