UN High Representative for Disarmament addresses CTBTO Member States

The entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a common goal of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). This was the key message of Angela Kane, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, while addressing the organization’s highest decision-making body in Vienna, Austria, on 16 June 2014.
Describing the cooperation between the CTBTO and the United Nations, Kane underscored the enduring commitment of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to securing the CTBT’s entry into force: “Building on his personal experience as a chair of this CTBTO PrepCom in 1999, he has placed special emphasis on the promotion of an early entry into force of the Treaty as our common goal. He has taken every reasonable opportunity to urge its ratification without delay by the remaining States, in particular the eight Annex 2 States.” These Annex 2 States - China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States – must all ratify the CTBT before it can enter into force.”

Angela Kane, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, addressing the organization’s highest decision-making body in Vienna, Austria, on 16 June 2014.

“I would like to underscore the Secretary-General’s enduring commitment to a world without both nuclear tests and nuclear weapons. You will certainly have our full cooperation in pursuing these great common goals.”

Welcoming the participation of the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo highlighted some of the main developments since the last PrepCom session in October 2013.

The Group of Eminent Persons

In his statement , Zerbo thanked the Government of Sweden for hosting the most recent meeting of the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) in Stockholm, Sweden, in April 2014, and informed Member States that  GEM members had agreed on the most effective strategies to promote the CTBT’s universality. These will include media outreach activities, participation in high-level events and direct engagement with policy makers. GEM comprises global leaders, senior political figures and high-ranking diplomats and was established in September 2013 to support efforts to promote the Treaty’s entry into force as well as reinvigorating international endeavours to achieve this goal.

CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo addressing Member States at the 42nd Session of the CTBTO PrepCom.

“The IPSAS-compliant Enterprise Resource Planning system was completed on time, within budget and according to plan. Compared with the experience of other international organizations, in terms of time and budget, this can be considered a major accomplishment of the Commission.”

New IT management system

The CTBTO has successfully launched a new organizational-wide business management software system that streamlines internal processes by integrating all management and financial functions into a single system with a shared database. “The project was completed on time, within budget and according to plan,” said Zerbo , thanking Member States for their continuous and instrumental contributions throughout the project.  The new Enterprise Resource Management System (ERP) complies with international public sector accounting standards (IPSAS). This means that it provides greater transparency in financial reporting to CTBTO Member States.

Preparations for the CTBTO’s largest ever field exercise

Preparations are well underway for the 2014 Integrated Field Exercise (IFE14), which will take place in Jordan’s Dead Sea area from 3 November to 9 December 2014. Zerbo expressed his appreciation to the Government of Jordan for hosting IFE14, which will be the largest field exercise ever undertaken by the CTBTO and will simulate an almost entire on-site inspection (OSI). This huge logistical undertaking will involve over 200 experts from the CTBTO and its Member States and the transportation of around 150 tons of equipment.

Preparing for IFE14: Installation of Multispectral Imaging, including Infrared Equipment equipment on an AS332 Super Puma belonging to the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

Re-establishment of hydroacoustic station HA03

“This has been the most complex reconstruction project in the history of our organization. The key factor in this undertaking was your dedication, for which I am grateful,” stated Zerbo as he explained to Member States that after four years of continuous work, the repair of the CTBTO’s hydroacoustic station HA03 in the Juan Fernández Islands (Chile) has come to completion. HA03 was destroyed by a tsunami in 2010 and has been reconstructed at a cost of over U.S.$ 20 million.

Strengthening capacities

Delegates highlighted the importance of a range of capacity building activities being carried out by the CTBTO. The second CTBT Academic Forum took place in Vienna in May 2014 and aimed to train and educate the next generation of CTBT experts. A series of capacity building courses have also been carried out for National Data Centres (NDC) representatives from developing countries with financial assistance from the European Union.

A hydrophone node being launched into the water during the re-establishment of HA03, Juan Fernández Islands, Chile.