UNESCO and CTBTO sign agreement to enhance disaster mitigation efforts and capacity-building in developing countries

Paris, 4 February 2010

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, signed an agreement on 3 February with Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), to enhance cooperation between the two organizations, notably for the benefit of tsunami early warning systems and capacity-building in developing countries.

The verification regime of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) uses cutting-edge technologies and scientific methods to monitor the planet for nuclear explosions. The resulting data offer a wide range of civil and scientific applications.

At the signing ceremony, Ms Bokova noted that: “The agreement will lead to greater synergy between UNESCO and the CTBTO, especially for capacity-building in developing countries. Besides their importance in disaster mitigation, the data received by the CTBTO from its global network of monitoring stations can advance research on ocean processes and marine life and contribute to sustainable development.”

“Our cooperation with UNESCO in the areas of tsunami early warning and the coordination of capacity-building activities is of particular importance,” stressed Tibor Tóth.

Following the devastating tsunami on 26 December 2004, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the CTBTO agreed to explore the potential of using data from the CTBT’s International Monitoring System (IMS) for tsunami warning purposes. The CTBTO is currently sending data to tsunami warning centres in Australia, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States, which increase their ability to issue more rapid warnings.

UNESCO’s IOC was founded in 1960 to promote international cooperation in researching and protecting the ocean. It is instrumental in monitoring the ocean and developing tsunami warning systems in vulnerable regions.
The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions.  The CTBT’s verification regime will comprise 337 facilities worldwide when complete. Monitoring data have a number of other possible uses including research on the Earth’s core, monitoring of earthquakes and volcanoes, climate change research, atmospheric monitoring and biological research.

For more information on UNESCO, please see www.unesco.org or contact:
Sue Williams, Chief, Media Section, Bureau of Public Information
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For further information on the CTBTO, please see www.ctbto.org – your resource on nuclear testing, or contact: Annika Thunborg, Chief, Public Information  
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