The Project for the CTBT supports the work of NGOs and experts to build public and policymaker understanding of the CTBT.

In 1996, the United States was the first nation to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which “prohibits any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.” The CTBT helps curb the spread of nuclear weapons and establishes a global monitoring network to detect and deter cheating. The time for the CTBT is now.

Project News

Amendment on CTBTO Funding Undermines Global Test Ban

An amendment to “restrict” all funding for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization—except for the International Monitoring System—was introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act, based on Feb. 7 legislation introduced by Wilson and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

Also in the amendment is a declaration by Congress that UN Security Council Resolution 2310 passed Sept. 15, 2016 does not “obligate...nor does it impose an obligation on the United States to refrain from actions that would run counter to the object and purpose” of the CTBT, which could undermine the U.S. obligation—as a signatory to the treaty—not to conduct nuclear test explosions.

This legislation is in spite of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s joint statement with other G7 foreign ministers this April which noted in part that all nations “should maintain all existing voluntary moratoria” on all nuclear test explosions, and “recalls” UN Security Council Resolution 2310 as an important contribution to nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament

The CTBTO 2017 Science and Technology Conference: Day 5

Brenna Gautam is a CTBTO Youth Group Member who will be working with the Project to post brief daily updates about the on-goings at the conference as it relates to the CTBTO Youth Group, civil society, and capacity building. She is a student at Georgetown Law School. Shervin Taheran is the program and policy associate at the Arms Control Association.

Day 5: Friday, June 30, 2017

The final day of the 2017 Science and Technology conference began with a discussion of how the CTBT can be advanced through “science diplomacy.” In addition to more traditional confidence building measures such as information sharing and research collaboration between government scientists, panelists proposed the establishment of summer schools and scholarship programs in the nonproliferation field and applauded the increased role of the CTBTO youth group at scientific conferences.

Although the conversation focused on the actions of scientific communities, panelists noted that there needs to be political will and vibrant civil society engagement to fully reap the benefits of science diplomacy. Later, scientists discussed how to use the International Monitoring System and other monitoring technologies to foster global development by affecting realms such as climate change and disaster risk reduction.

The CTBTO 2017 Science and Technology Conference: Day 4

Brenna Gautam is a CTBTO Youth Group Member who will be working with the Project to post brief daily updates about the on-goings at the conference as it relates to the CTBTO Youth Group, civil society, and capacity building. She is a student at Georgetown Law School. Shervin Taheran is a program and policy associate at the Arms Control Association.

Day 4: Thursday, June 29, 2017

Day 4 of the conference began to focus on the intersection between science and policy, and the importance of translating complicated science into simplified language for diplomats and policymakers. Jonathan Forman, senior advisor to the scientific advisory board of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (OPCW), took the stage to share advice of how the OPCW tries to convey the science behind the convention to lawmakers, using tools such as using wasabi to metaphorically show the effects of tear gas and how it makes the eyes water, to going back to old-fashioned molecule models to explain stereochemical configurations.

"Disarmament requires scientist-policymaker collaboration," Forman noted. As scientists tend to think in terms of technical insight and analytical thinking, and policymakers tend to think of the broader global communication, it is particularly important that these groups retain good communication between them, he said.

The CTBTO 2017 Science and Technology Conference: Day 3

Brenna Gautam is a CTBTO Youth Group Member who will be working with the Project to post brief daily updates about the on-goings at the conference as it relates to the CTBTO Youth Group, civil society, and capacity building. She is a student at Georgetown Law School. Shervin Taheran is the program and policy associate at the Arms Control Association.

Day 3: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Educational initiatives remained at the forefront of the conference’s third day with the panel discussion “Training Education and Public Advocacy for the CTBT: The Role of Academia in Securing the Treaty’s Entry into Force and Universalization.”

Professors Matthew Yedlin and Allen Sens from the University of British Columbia announced their project to launch a massive online open course on nuclear weapons and arms control, including the CTBT. Bronwyn McCarter, a student enrolled in his course, spoke to how the materials introduced her to the treaty and led to her advocating with the CTBTO Youth Group. The University of British Columbia program is currently seeking collaboration with other institutions and NGO's in the hopes to expand their program to civil society globally.