Zerbo awarded title of Executive Secretary Emeritus

Zerbo awarded title of Executive Secretary Emeritus

The governing Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has conferred the title of Executive Secretary Emeritus on Lassina Zerbo in recognition of his contribution to the Treaty and eight years at the helm of the organization.

The chair of the PrepCom, Czech Ambassador Ivo Šrámek, presented a certificate to Zerbo at his last PrepCom session on 21 June, conferring the honour “in recognition of his service and contribution to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and to the work of the Organization as Executive Secretary”.

Statements by Member States paid a warm tribute to Zerbo, who first joined the CTBTO in 2004 as Director of the International Data Centre before being elected Executive Secretary from 1 August 2013, winning reelection to a further four-year term in 2017.

“I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to you for the chance you gave me to serve the noble cause of the Treaty and this excellent Organization,” Zerbo told Member State representatives in his final opening statement to the PrepCom. “I am honoured to work with you and am grateful for your unwavering support.”

While looking to the future of the CTBTO, Zerbo recalled highlights of the Organization’s achievements over the past eight years, including:

  • 13 additional ratifications and two further signatures of the CTBT, bringing the total numbers to 185 States Signatories and 170 ratifications;
  • reaching and surpassing the milestone of 300 certified facilities in the International Monitoring System (IMS), including in some of the most remote places on earth, bringing the network to almost 90% of the 337 locations planned in the Treaty;
  • the successful detection of nuclear tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in January and September 2016 and September 2017;
  • the establishment of a Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) to support and complement efforts to promote the CTBT’s entry into force;
  • the creation of the CTBTO Youth Group (CYG), which in five years has grown to more than 1,000 members;
  • the CTBTO’s largest ever field activity, the 2014 Integrated Field Exercise in Jordan, to test capabilities for On-Site Inspection once the Treaty is in force;
  • the establishment of the CTBTO Technology Support and Training Centre, a permanent hub for storage, maintenance & testing plus state-of-the-art training facilities;
  • the growth of the biennial CTBT Science and Technology Conference series, and creation of the Science Diplomacy Symposium;
  • significant expansion of training and other activities to support capacity development in Member States;
  • the achievement of gender parity at Director level.

Zerbo will be succeeded as Executive Secretary on 1 August by Robert Floyd.

Congratulating Floyd and wishing him “every success”, Zerbo added: “I am confident that with his experience and qualifications he will make a perfect Executive Secretary.”

He also thanked the CTBTO’s “extraordinary staff”. “I have come to know many talented women and men who strongly believe in the importance of the mission of the Commission and have spared no effort to advance its work,” he said. “I salute them for helping me discharge my responsibilities and wish them continued success in their future endeavours.”