Issue 18: March 2012

From nine names in the directory to over 250 staff – the CTBTO celebrates its 15th anniversary!

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In this special 15th anniversary issue of Spectrum and video, a number of former and current staff share some of their personal memories of the journey since March 1997 when the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) began its operations in Vienna. In the words of the first Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, Wolfgang Hoffmann: “We were a very small group of people with a huge task.”

Although confronted with numerous challenges, many staff refer to the enthusiasm, optimism and team spirit which have made it all worthwhile and have enabled great progress to be made.  Reflecting on the last 15 years, the CTBTO’s Executive Secretary Tibor Tóth concludes: “I think we can be proud that we have managed to deliver on things that were just dreams in March 1997 and to turn them into reality by spring 2012.”

In force, the CTBT will make an important contribution to the peace and security interests of the Cook Islands.Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna
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The Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Henry Puna, recalls the Pacific Islands’ long struggle to end nuclear testing, which had devastating effects on the region. He also states that the Government of the Cook Islands “welcomes and strongly encourages the application of CTBTO data for civil and scientific purposes… As experience has shown, the Pacific Islands region is not immune to the disastrous effects of tsunamis and the timely application of CTBTO data could well prevent deaths and destruction in the future.”

Timely, accurate data are always critical for an effective response.WHO Secretary-General Margaret Chan
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The importance of CTBTO data for disaster mitigation efforts is the focus of several articles in Spectrum 18. The Secretary-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, relates how CTBTO data “were absolutely essential for WHO’s work” and helped the organization tailor public health guidance during the Fukushima crisis in Japan.

In 2011, about 2.3 gigabytes of IMS primary seismic, auxiliary seismic and hydroacoustic data were sent in near-real time daily to tsunami warning organizations.UNESCO-IOC Executive Secretary Wendy Watson-Wright
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The Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), Wendy Watson-Wright, praises the data’s added value for tsunami early warning and describes how UNESCO/IOC and the CTBTO have partnered in assisting Haiti to develop its capacity for seismic and tsunami monitoring.

Remember that the international community stands firmly behind you!Former Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi
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Former Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi highlights the applications of CTBTO data for tsunami warning systems and the tracking of radionuclides as important incentives for outstanding countries to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). She also stresses that “the countries which have not signed the Treaty should sign it at the earliest time, taking particular note of the advantages of the International Monitoring System (IMS) data in the event of natural disasters.”

There should now be no doubt that the Treaty’s verification regime is fit for purpose.UK Foreign Secretary William Hague
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The UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague, calls on the eight remaining Annex 2 States to ratify the Treaty, saying: “The steps required to complete and sustain the Treaty’s verification regime and bring it into force are central UK policy objectives.” He also informs Spectrum readers that “The technical capabilities of the regime have improved beyond recognition from the days when the Treaty was negotiated in the mid-1990s…The CTBT verification regime has developed to a point where it now presents a formidable challenge for any would-be Treaty violator."

We heard familiar arguments against ratifying the Treaty, but they became too narrow to prevail.Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa
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The Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marty M. Natalegawa describes the positive momentum that his country’s recent ratification of the CTBT will create. Outlining the principles that lie behind Indonesia’s commitment to the CTBT, he explains that “the Treaty is non-discriminatory and inclusive. Under its provisions, all States – whether they have nuclear arsenals or not – must play by the same rules…The technology is already in place to police nuclear explosions all around the world.” In his opinion, “the Treaty represents the marriage of robust science to an inclusive and democratic international legal instrument.”

When it comes to ratifying the CTBT, one bold step will lead to another which in turn will create leaps.Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
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The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu calls for universalization of the CTBT and explains that “ratification of the CTBT by all countries in the Middle East as an effective confidence and security building measure is also key to our common non-proliferation efforts.” He also states that 2012 will be a decisive year in the non-proliferation and disarmament fora and relates how Turkey is raising awareness about the Treaty’s objectives and encouraging its ratification through efforts such as the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative.

Brown bears are frequent in the [Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy] area so the stations are surrounded by fences to keep inquisitive wildlife at bay.CTBTO's Svetlana Nikolova
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And finally on the verification side, the CTBTO's Svetlana Nikolova highlights the important work being carried out by International Monitoring System station operators – in this case, in three remote parts of Russia. Not only do they regularly contend with extreme weather conditions to ensure the smooth running of the stations but they also need specialized technical knowledge and years of experience.

Editorial 2 [PDF]
Looking Back, Looking Forward
by Henry Puna, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands
4 [PDF]
Underpinning the international non-proliferation regime
by William Hague, UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
7 [PDF]
Leading by Example
by Marty M. Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia
9 [PDF]
New approaches to security
by Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey
11 [PDF]
A need for united action for the early entry into force of the CTBT
by Yoriko Kawaguchi, Co-Chair of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), Member of House of Councillors of Japan
13 [PDF]
15 years of the CTBTO
16 [PDF]
From nine staff to a bustling organization 22 [PDF]
Effective communication in emergencies
by Margaret Chan, Director-General of World Health Organization
30 [PDF]
Buttressing the global tsunami warning network
by Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and Assistant Director General of UNESCO
33 [PDF]
From Southwestern Siberia to Kamchatka
by Svetlana Nikolova, Head of the Monitoring Facilities Operations Unit at the CTBTO's International Data Centre
36 [PDF]