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

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.

The CTBTO 2017 Science and Technology Conference: Day 2

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 2: Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The CTBTO Science and Technology 2017 kicked off on Tuesday, June 26, 2017 with a High Level Opening panel moderated by Sanam Shantyaei from the France24 news television network, that stressed the critical juncture faced by the disarmament community in the year 2017. With North Korea conducting nuclear tests, diplomats negotiating for a ban on nuclear weapons at the United Nations, and the Doomsday Clock sitting at two and a half minutes to midnight, keynote speakers urged that the time for progress on the CTBT is now.

Challenging gender disparities in STEM careers and the nonproliferation field, the High Level Opening of the CTBT featured three female keynote speakers: President of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan Princess Sumaya of Jordan, Angolan Minister for Science and Technology, and Pascale Ultré Guérard, from the National Centre for Space Studies in France. Executive Secretary Dr. Zerbo applauded the women of the CTBTO and discussed the importance of more representation within the nonproliferation community.

The CTBTO 2017 Science and Technology Conference: Day 1

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 1: Monday, June 26, 2017

The CTBTO Science and Technology 2017 began with introductory remarks from Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Dr. Lassina Zerbo at the specifically designated morning-long CTBTO Youth Group Orientation Session. The CTBTO Youth Group is a group launched at the 2015 Science and Technology conference which aims to increase the awarenss of, and support for, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), not only in the 8 remaining Annex 2 states whose ratifications are necessary for entry into force, but also in the countries who have ratified to help stave off treaty fatigue as well as encouraging general international support for the treaty. Dr. Zerbo's overarching message for conference participants is that the 2017 conference seeks to enhance the synergy between the fields of science and diplomacy, highlighting how scientific advancements and technological innovations can unite countries in their shared goal of entering the CTBT into force.

This goal of global cooperation is reflected in the diversity of the CTBTO Youth Group: seventy members are present at the conference, representing 54 different countries. CTBTO Policy and Strategy Officer Diana Ballestas de Dietrich challenged Youth Group members to find creative ways to make the technical treaty accessible and relatable for ordinary citizens. “How can we personalize the CTBT in a way that engages people in their daily lives?” she asked.

CTBTO Funding Included in State FY 2018 Budget Request

By Daryl G. Kimball

The Trump administration's State Department budget request for fiscal year 2018 includes full funding for the United States assessed contribution to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which operates the global monitoring system to detect and deter nuclear explosions and verify compliance with the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT):

"Contributions to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization’s Preparatory Commission (PrepCom) ($31.0 million): PrepCom assistance helps to fund the fielding, operation, and maintenance of the state-of-the-art International Monitoring System (IMS), a global network of 321 seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound, and radionuclide sensing stations designed and optimized to detect nuclear explosions worldwide. The U.S. receives the data the IMS provides, which is an important supplement to U.S. National Technical Means to monitor for nuclear explosions (a mission carried out by the U.S. Air Force). A reduction in IMS capability could deprive the U.S. of an irreplaceable source of nuclear explosion monitoring data. [emphasis added] This amount includes funding for projects to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the Treaty’s verification regime, and also funds a tax reimbursement agreement that facilitates the hiring of Americans by the PrepCom.” (pg. 338)

UN Security Council Resolution 2310 Adopted

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2310, which reaffirmed the international moratorium on nuclear weapon testing, on Sept. 23. The resolution followed a Sept. 15 statement by the permanent five members of the UN Security Council committing not to defeat “the object and purpose” of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as required under customary international law. It also acknowledged the value of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization’s International Monitoring System.

North Korea’s Fifth Nuclear Test

By Alicia Sanders-Zakre

North Korea conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 8.

The test was met with international condemnation and calls for increased sanctions on North Korea. Russia issued “the strongest possible condemnation,” and both Japan and the United States condemned the test in “the strongest possible terms” in official statements following the test. The UN Security Council convened on Sept. 9 in an emergency session to discuss the test.

Collisions: A Captivating Virtual Reality Warning on Nuclear Weapons

By Andrey Burin

August 5 marks the anniversary of the signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty, which prohibited the testing of nuclear weapons in outer space, underwater, or in the atmosphere. This treaty was signed by representatives of the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom, marking an important first step towards controlling and ceasing the harmful results of nuclear testing, such as the tests by the United Kingdom in Western Australia.

Collisions, directed by Australian filmmaker Lynette Walworth, takes viewers on a virtual reality (VR) journey into the center of a situation most would never want to be in—a nuclear test.

May 19 Event "The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at 20: Prospects for Ratification and the Enduring Risks of Nuclear Testing"

On Thursday, May 19, 2016 at the House of the Academy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences will host the conference: "The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at 20: Prospects for Ratification and the Enduring Risks of Nuclear Testing."

The conference will be divided into a "Daytime Program" and an "Evening Program" that will both take place in Cambridge. However, the American Academy of Arts and Science will also be hosting a live-stream of the evening program in Washington, D.C. at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. 

To register for the conference, either in Cambridge or in Washington, please click on the following links:

North Korea Threatens More Nuclear Tests

As part of its response to tough new sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council following its fourth nuclear test explosion on Jan. 6, the Pyongyang regime has threatened a new round of nuclear tests and claims to have developed a warhead design small enough to load on a ballistic missile.

Many analysts doubt Pyongyang has fully developed such a capability and they underscore the importance of restarting negotiations to try to halt further nuclear and ballistic missile tests, particularly of the KN-08 missile, that could allow it to perfect such a capability. For further analysis, see:

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