Symposium Overview

Opening Session

In her welcoming remarks, Bente Angell-Hansen, the Permanent Representative of Norway, referred to the 6 January announced nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as an "unlawful act that constitutes a breach of the universally accepted norm against nuclear testing, a norm that has been respected by 183 countries since 1996". Norway is financially supporting the symposium.

Cristian Istrate, Permanent Representative of Romania and Chair of the CTBTO PrepCom, the organization's highest decision-making body, highlighted the international community's unity against renewed nuclear testing, as demonstrated in the unanimous condemnation of the DPRK's announced nuclear test. Istrate described the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as "a golden opportunity to take stock of the achievements of the PrepCom over the last two decades".

"We cannot really characterize this anniversary as a cause for celebration," Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo added in his address (PDF). "Until such time as it enters into force, the CTBT is unfinished business. Unless we finish what we started, there is a risk that we will lose twenty years of hard work and fifty to sixty years of negotiations on a world without nuclear testing. So the twentieth anniversary is a time for reflection. And hopefully that reflection will bring about a time for action."

The next two weeks bring into focus what a monumental accomplishment it was to have the CTBT opened for signature twenty years ago.Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo

Keynote Address by David Strangway

Referring to different examples of international scientific endeavours such as the International Space Station or multi-national space observatories, David Strangway stated that "the common language of science has opened up dialogue that reinforced mutual understanding."

The global sensor network of the CTBTO is one such platform which brings together researchers from different disciplines and different countries. You only have to look at the workforce of the CTBTO to see the impact on boundary-crossing.David Strangway, President Emeritus, University of British Columbia and Canada Foundation for Innovation

Interview with Joe Cirincione

Focussing his remarks on the prospects of CTBT ratification by the United States, Joseph Cirincione described the ongoing efforts by the U.S. administration to educate the wider public and the U.S. Senate about the security interests in favour of CTBT ratification. He expressed his optimism that with the backing of civil society and think tanks, the Treaty's profile would be raised in the national security debate.

The importance of a Treaty is not just that it becomes global law but that it establishes an international norm. Countries that used to explode nuclear weapons like firecrackers haven't tested in over 20 years.Joseph Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund

20 Years On: Reflections on the Negotiations of the CTBT

A lively panel debate on the negotiations of the Treaty featuring former lead negotiators in the Conference on Disarmament who played key roles in the Treaty’s negotiation. The panel explored the dynamics that led to the final Treaty text, including the entry into force clause - Article XIV - and offered the opportunity to reflect on the current impasse with regard to the Treaty’s entry into force.

We seized the window of opportunity that opened after the Cold War had ended. Three years [to negotiate] an international treaty is not much time, so we had to make haste.Wolfgang Hoffmann, Executive Secretary Emeritus

Achieving entry into force: Confronting the challenge 20 years later

A moderated debate with members of the Group of Eminent Persons and the coordinators of the CTBT Article XIV process, Japan and Kazkhstan, on the geopolitical climate shaping conditions for ratifications in the remaining Annex 2 States.

We have seen with chemical weapons issue in Syria and the JCPOA [the Iran nuclear agreement] that agreements are possible, but you have to invest a lot of time, goodwill, effort and a willingness to work together to get something.Angela Kane, former UN High Representative for Disarmament and GEM member

Nuclear Testing and the Arms Race

James Acton, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Pierce Corden, Visiting Scholar, American Association for the Advancement of Science and Zia Mian, Director, Project on Peace and Security in South Asia, Princeton University discuss nuclear weapons technology, the decision-making process in nuclear testing, and the linkages between nuclear testing and the arms race.

President Carter decided that the test ban was possible, verifiable and was in the U.S. national interest. ... We could have had a nuclear test ban treaty in 1980. The reason that the talks failed [according to U.S. chief negotiator Herbert York] was that most of the U.S. military including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the entire permanent civilian nuclear establishment opposed it.Zia Mian, Director, Project on Peace and Security in South Asia, Princeton University

Where's the News? (Under-) reporting on the CTBT

A panel of journalists and media professionals considered the following motion: If nuclear weapons and nuclear testing are a great risk to life on earth, are news media failing the public by not paying them more attention?

Living with nuclear weapons became normal. In that sense, it's not surprising that it has ceased to become an urgent issue. Not that people don't care about it, we've lived with them and none of the apocalyptic scenarios predicted or suggested has come to pass.Louis Charbonneau, Thomson Reuters Bureau Chief, UN New York

Keynote Address by Paul Richards

Keynote Address by Paul Richards, Special Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Seismology Geology and Tectonophysics

We have achieved a very good verification system and I see every prospect of it getting even significantly better. ... [but] this Treaty is not run for the benefit of those who do verification, it is about a serious effort with serious arms control goals.Paul Richards, Special Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

The Foundation of the CTBT Verification Regime

A panel discussion to reflect on how the CTBT verification regime as it stands today, including the on-site inspection capability, measures up against expectations and technical capabilities in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and how the verification technologies are implemented 20 years later.

The Group of Scientific Experts worked under the Conference on Disarmament from 1976 to 1996 ... the course of the work was steady, but at the same time the technologies underpinning the verification system developed dramatically. Svein Mykkeltveit, Norwegian Seismic Array (NORSAR)

The Future of Multilateral Arms Control Verification

A panel discussion on how the CTBT and its verification regime contributed to arms control and nonproliferation arrangements and what lessons should be drawn from the CTBT for future arrangements.

The first strong positive of the CTBT verification regime is its democratic nature - the involvement of multiple States in the verification regime in terms of hosting facilities and the availability of data from that verification regime to States. Translating this democraticness to other treaties and verification regimes is not straigthforward and requires a lot of thinking but is a real positive that I think is important to build upon.James Acton, Co-Director, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Rebooting Nuclear Security

CTBT Entry into Force and the Elimination of Nuclear Threats: A panel discussion examining how entry into force of the CTBT connects with other interlinked issues in arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, and nuclear security.

Non-proliferation is only talked about in terms of terrorist activities; it is really not talked about in a broader sense. And to my mind, maintenance of international peace and security is very much related also to looking at treaties, to looking at being a good citizen and joining those treaties. So that is where the leadership comes in.Angela Kane, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

CTBT as a regional confidence building measure

A panel discussion on the role of the CTBT as a confidence building tool, in particular in North and South East Asia and the Middle East.

The irony of CBMs [Confidence Building Measures] is that they are most likely to succeed when they are least required, and they are least likely to succeed when they are most required… And it’s no coincidence that some of the best CBMs that have come through, came in that very brief period after the end of the Cold War, when in fact tensions between the two super powers, between the western and eastern bloc, diminished.Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, Senior Fellow, Brookings India

Unterstanding the CTBT

A presentation by Sonya Brander, Chief of the CTBTO's Legal Services, on the key articles of the Treaty and national implementation of the Treaty’s obligations, highlighting concrete advantages of an enforceable CTBT.

An enforceable CTBT is more than just a signed and ratified document. It also means a legal situation, which includes the signature and ratification of the treaty. But it also means a verification regime that in all its technical aspects is fully operational.Sonya Brander, Chief, Legal Services Section, CTBTO

The Preparatory Commission and the future organization

Discussion with the Chair of the Preparatory Commission, Cristian Istrate, Permanent Representative of Romania and Chair of the Preparatory Commission, moderated by the Secretary of the Preparatory Commission, Bozorgmehr Ziaran

No matter how much our views differ in terms of CTBT or nuclear related issues, I think that this time we should be more united than ever to work for the entry into force of the Treaty. I would regard this as a main task for the Prep Com for this year, this 2016.Cristian Istrate, Permanent Representative of Romania and Chair of the Preparatory Commission

Enforceability of the CTBT: International Politics and International Law

A panel discussion on the enforceability of the CTBT as an international norm, the role of nuclear test moratoria and ways to advance entry into force in accordance with international law.

It is important in this 20th anniversary year for the international community, perhaps the security council itself, to recognize the value the CTBTO already provides… to make sure that the organization is well supported, healthy enough, and recognized for what it is already doing, which is to detect, and today to deter nuclear testing even though the treaty has not entered into force.Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

Evaluation of a very small seismic event in the DPRK, 12 May 2010

Presentation by Paul Richards, Special Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Seismology Geology and Tectonophysics.

The signals [of this event] were 3000 times smaller than those generated on January 6, by the last nuclear test by North Korea.Paul Richards, Special Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Enhancing National Security through Science-based Verification

A moderated discussion exploring perspectives of the impact of the CTBT on national and global security with discussants Raymond Jeanloz, Professor of Astronomy, University of California Berkeley and Gideon Frank, former Director General, Israel Atomic Energy Commission. Moderator: Patrick Grenard, Special Assistant, Office of the Executive Secretary, CTBTO.

As one learns to deploy in the field, in the context for training for on-site inspections, helps educate us about other types of deployments in that in the future may apply to other treaties and other kinds of activities.Raymond Jeanloz, Professor of Astronomy, University of California Berkeley

Introduction and Overview, International Monitoring System Technologies

Presentation on the International Monitoring System and significant detections David Jepsen, Coordinator, International Monitoring System Division.

“The system as it is today has shown its effectiveness. Recently we had the North Korean test where the seismic component of IMS lit up like a Christmas tree."David Jepsen, Coordinator, International Monitoring System Division

IMS Data and International Data Centre (IDC) Products

Presentation by Gerhard Graham, International Data Centre Programme and Project Coordinator

The member states are “hungry” for data and for products and that is very true. I think we move about between 10-14 Terabytes of data information a day. In last year through different vehicles that we have to access the information at the IDC we had close to half a million requests for information in raw data and products of the IDC.Gerhard Graham, IDC Programme and Project Coordinator

Roles, Responsibilities and Challenges Maintaining the IMS Verification System

A panel discussion on the experience and challenges in the maintenance of International Monitoring System stations. With panelists from Honduras, Iran, Niger and Norway.

The life’s cycle cost of the station is minimized by good planning and design and to follow the technological developments and to invest in high quality components and infrastructure when building the station. In that way the station will deliver a 100% data for a long time.Jan Fyen, Special Advisor, Norwegian Seismic Array NORSAR

The IMS Verification System in Action

The DPRK announced nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016. Presentation by Robert Pearce, Senior Scientist, International Data Centre and Martin Kalinowski, Head, Scientific Methods Unit, International Data Centre.

[The 2006 announced nuclear test] was just one of the 104 events that were in the reviewed event bulletin for that day. The event was not screened out. Robert Pearce, Senior Scientist, International Data Centre

Civil and Scientific Uses of IMS Data

Including Case Study on the Fukushima Accident - presentation by Klas Elmgren, IDC Radionuclide Operations Officer

After the Fukushima accident, first only the station in Takasaki measured radioactivity... After, detections were made on all [radionuclide] stations in the Northern hemisphere.Klas Elmgren, IDC Radionuclide Operations Officer

The Way Forward for CTBT Technical Verification

Panel discussion, moderated by Gerardo Suárez, National Autonomous University of Mexico. Panellists: Federico Guendel, former Director, International Monitoring System Division, CTBTO; Raymond Jeanloz, Professor of Astronomy, University of California Berkeley; Joachim Schulze, Chairperson of the CTBTO PrepCom Working Group B; John J (Jay) Zucca, Principal Deputy Global Security Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

’I think high performance computing over the next 10 years is going to change the game for all kinds of technical areas. It could potentially, in the future, play a role in the IDC.John Jay Zucca, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Introduction and Overview of OSI Activities and Techniques

Presentation on the CTBT on-site inspection (OSI) regime, its activities and techniques by Oleg Rozhkov, Director, On-Site Inspection Division and Peter Labak, Equipment and Implementation Officer.

The sole purpose of an on-site-inspection is to clarify or find facts on the ground whether a nuclear explosion or a breach of obligation of the Treaty has been conducted.Oleg Rozhkov, Director, On-Site Inspection Division

OSI Regime Implementation Challenges- Treaty and Protocol Issues

Presentation on challenges in implementing an on-site inspection by Gordon MacLeod, Chief, OSI Policy Planning & Operations Section.

’We only have 40 persons to deal with a 1,000 km2 and then you have [tight] time frames…So it’s not like you can go there for six months or something along those lines, with a large group of people coming to countryside.Gordon MacLeod, Chief, OSI Policy Planning & Operations Section

How to Become a “Surrogate” Inspector

Presentation on the CTBTO's programme on training future on-site inspection team members by Ron Gavish, Chief, OSI Training Section.

Over the last 18 years we can define 3 periods - the initial period, the experimental training period and since 2007 the build-up of a roster of surrogate inspectors.Ron Gavish, Chief, OSI Training Section

Continuous Development of the OSI Regime

Presentation on the outcome of the Integrated Field Exercise 2014 IFE14 in Jordan by Hussam Al Husseini, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the UN Vienna and Oleg Rozhkov, Director, On-Site Inspection Division. hosting this important event, Jordan has contributed to bringing the treaty into force, which is an important step and crucial step toward realizing a world free nuclear arms and weapons.Hussam Al Husseini, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the UN Vienna

Introduction to Executive Council Simulation

The symposium featured a simulation of an Executive Council discussion on whether to launch an on-site inspection. The future Executive Council will consist of 51 Member States. Jean Du Preez, Chief, External Relations and International Cooperation Section, explains the simulation's rules and procedures.

The purpose of the whole Simulation is to provide you with the opportunity to role play and utilize the knowledge that you have developed not only at this Symposium but in other forum about this Treaty and to actually put into play.Jean Du Preez, Chief, External Relations and International Cooperation