Executive Secretary Official Visit to Canada

CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo addresses the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) at its the 44th session

On 8 July CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo addressed the Political Commission of the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) at its the 44th session in Québec, Canada. The meeting was chaired by Christophe André-Frassa, Président of the APF Political Commission and was attended by about 50 APF parliamentarians.

Zerbo recalled the importance of the CTBT as a cornerstone of the global architecture for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation which provides the international community with a non-discriminatory, verifiable and legally binding means of ensuring that no nuclear test can take place. Despite not being in force, the CTBT is already a key pillar in the international regime of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Zerbo further reflected on the current context of nuclear non-proliferation, and highlighted the importance of the Verification in the process of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

The CTBT stands ready to serve as a measure of confidence in pursuing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The CTBTO has the technology and expertise to verify any agreement regarding the closure of the DPRK nuclear test site - upon request.CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo

Zerbo commended La Francophonie, bearer of universal values such as the promotion of peace, and called for its continued engagement for the entry into force of the CTBT, in line with the Declaration of Antananarivo. He also highlighted the pivotal role played by parliamentarians through inter-parliamentarian relations and the treaty ratification process at national level. The importance of working with and in regional partnerships - such as La Francophonie and parliamentarians – was highlighted in order to achieve greater momentum to achieve the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear testing and, ultimately, free from nuclear weapons. Discussions with APF parliamentarians led to suggestions and possible initiatives to seek further CTBT signatures and ratifications in the francophone world. To date, 79 of the 183 CTBT States Signatories are members or observers of the Francophonie. Six of the 54 full members of La Francophonie have not signed or not ratified the CTBT.

The global context reminds us every day of the reality of the nuclear threat and, therefore, the pressing need for the entry into force and universalization of the CTBT. And La Francophonie can and must play a major role in these efforts.CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo
Zerbo and Fang Liu, Secretary General of ICAO
Zerbo and Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council

Zerbo also recalled the importance of CTBTO civil and scientific applications, which contribute to sustainable development, knowledge expansion and the safeguarding of human lives. The data is freely accessible to scientists around the world and shared equally with all our Member States.

While in Canada, the CTBTO Executive Secretary made a courtesy call to Fang Liu, Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and discussed CTBTO cooperation with ICAO on infrasound technology for aviation safety. Both heads of organizations exchanged views on common challenges encountered by technical organizations, such as gender balance, geographic diversity and engagement with the new generation of experts. They also discussed the necessity and benefits of reinforcing the link between Science and Policy.

Zerbo also met with Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, fifth and current President of the ICAO Council, who highlighted the importance of monitoring volcanic ash due to its impact on international aviation traffic and long-term damage to planes, and encouraged close cooperation and exchange of expertise between ICAO and the CTBTO in this regard.

The visit also included a meeting with Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Québec and member of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA). Zerbo and Quirion exchanged on the value of science diplomacy to ease political tensions and to guide policy. In this regard, Quirion reflected on the extensive initiatives and collaborative research and capacity building programmes of Canada with less developed countries. He expressed his support for initiatives that drive change, building opportunities for today and in the future.

There is an increasing interest for science to guide political decisions and societal changes. Québec is engaged in creating a sustainable framework for scientific and societal diplomacy in particular for youth in less developed countries.M. Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Québec