Malaysia hosts workshop on national implementation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)

Participants at the workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).

A Workshop on "CTBTO International Cooperation for National Implementation of the CTBT for States from Southeast Asia" took place in Kuala Lumpur from 31 May to 2 June 2006. The workshop was organised by the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) at the invitation of the Government of Malaysia.

In his opening statement, the Hon. Dato' Sri Dr. Jamaluddin Jarjis, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation of Malaysia, stressed the significance of the CTBT for nuclear disarmament and regretted that the Treaty had not yet entered into force. Representing Malaysia as one of the affected States by the December 2004 tsunami, he underlined the need for the Treaty's entry into force for CTBTO data to be used potentially by tsunami early warning organizations.

Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, addressed participants and thanked the Government of Malaysia for hosting the workshop. He stressed the increasing importance of developing countries, in particular countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in the Commission. About half of all stations of the International Monitoring System (IMS) were being hosted by developing countries, he said, and interest in monitoring data had increased steadily in those countries.

Some 30 participants, including representatives from ministries for foreign affairs, policy makers and scientific experts as well as a group of scientific observers and a representative of UNESCO, attended the workshop. The Secretariat of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission was represented by Mr. Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary and four PTS staff members.

The objective of the workshop was to enhance the understanding of the CTBT to facilitate the earliest possible completion of the establishment of the International Monitoring System (IMS) in the region and to promote ratification of the Treaty by States that have not yet ratified it.

During the three-day workshop, PTS staff provided an overview of the CTBT with focus on its political significance and perspectives, membership benefits of the CTBT, ratification and national implementation of the Treaty. PTS staff also briefed participants on the CTBT verification regime and its monitoring technologies, the IDC and its products and services for States Signatories as well as national capacity building activities of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission.

Representatives of States of the region gave their perspectives on the CTBT and national implementation measures. They also discussed prospects of increased regional and sub-regional cooperation in the context of national implementation of the CTBT. Special attention was given to the potential civil and scientific application of the CTBT verification technologies. In that connection, workshop participants visited the National Tsunami Early Warning Centre under the auspices of the Malaysian Meteorological Department

The workshop concluded by issuing a number of recommendations. States that have not yet signed or ratified the Treaty were called on to do so at the earliest opportunity. Workshop participants also recommended that States establish effective internal coordination mechanisms for national implementation of the CTBT. They also recommended increasing the cooperation among Member States in the region, on the political level between national authorities and on the technical level between national data centres, with the aim to develop effective networks in the region.