Executive Secretary Zerbo visits the United States

Executive Secretary Zerbo visits the United States

On 10 March 2014, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Lassina Zerbo, met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at United Nations headquarters in New York. The Executive Secretary also travelled to Patrick Air Force Base in Florida to attend an inauguration ceremony for new facilities at the United States National Data Center the following day.


During his meeting with the Secretary-General, the first in his official capacity as Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, Zerbo discussed the successes that have been achieved over the last decade in the establishment of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) verification regime, as well as additional measures that the international community could take in order to accelerate the entry into force and universalization of the Treaty. The Executive Secretary also emphasized the need to seize all available political opportunities to promote signature and ratification of the Treaty, and sought the continued support of the Secretary-General in these efforts.

I urge all remaining States to sign and ratify CTBT without further delay. This is a call I make on behalf of all people in our world who adamantly oppose the development of these indiscriminate weapons and yearn for a safer world.UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, September 2013, New York

Prior to the meeting, Zerbo addressed and answered questions from members of the UN Press Association at the Secretary General’s daily briefing (see video on top of page), including on whether infrasound monitoring data could have contributed to shedding light on the fate of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 that had gone missing on 8 March.

The combination of the International Monitoring System and National Technical Means makes the world more safe and secure.CTBTO head Lassina Zerbo

Following the visit to New York, the Executive Secretary travelled to Florida where he participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony inaugurating the new Headquarters building and radionuclide laboratory at the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) at Patrick Air Force Base, which serves as the U.S. National Data Centre. During a press briefing, Zerbo highlighted the excellent cooperation between the CTBTO and AFTAC and the U.S. National Laboratories, noting that “These relationships provide strong support to the ongoing domestic education process in the United States on the CTBT."

Zerbo also referred to the civil and scientific applications of nuclear test monitoring technology and data, stating that “Our primary mandate is nuclear test monitoring, but if the technology can help the international community in one way or another, we need to take advantage of it. We contributed in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster and we are actively engaged in tsunami monitoring. The combination of the International Monitoring System and National Technical Means makes the world more safe and secure.”