CTBTO Youth Group Strategizes in Washington, DC

Originally published on James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), 28 September 2016

Eight members of the CTBTO Youth Group (CYG) gathered in Washington, DC from September 21-23, 2016, to meet with nongovernmental organizations about ways to facilitate the entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Among the participants were three representatives from CNS headquarters in Monterey: Lin (Irene) Yu and Sarah Bidgood, nonproliferation and terrorism studies master’s degree candidates at MIIS and graduate research assistants at CNS, and Sylvia Mishra, a visiting fellow at CNS.

During the first day of the trip, CYG members met with representatives from the Ploughshares Fund, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), and Global Zero. On day two, they spoke with the National Association of Evangelicals before participating in a strategy session on CTBT entry-into-force organized by the Arms Control Association (ACA) and hosted at CNS’s DC office. Each of the representatives discussed both the state of play of the CTBT in the United States as well as mechanisms they used as organizations to mobilize their members around certain nonproliferation and disarmament issues effectively.

The CTBT Youth Group is an initiative launched by CTBTO Executive Secretary Dr. Lassina Zerbo in 2016, the year of the twentieth anniversary of the opening for signature of the treaty in 1996. The objectives of the group include revitalizing discussions around the CTBT among stakeholders ranging from policy makers to the general public using creative approaches and new technologies. Irene, Sarah, and Sylvia represent China, the United States, and India respectively, three of the eight Annex 2 states who have yet to ratify the CTBT but must do so in order for it to enter into force. With this background, they drafted a document reflecting on recent international developments relating to the CTBT and the ways that these could affect its future. They distributed copies to participants at the ACA strategy meeting and to Dr. Lassina Zerbo, who met with the group at the end of the day on Friday. The piece is particularly timely given the vote in the UN Security Council on September 23rd to adopt a resolution aimed at reinforcing international norms against nuclear testing. The authors advise the CYG to remain current on this and other events of relevance to the treaty in order for members to be their most effective in facilitating progress toward its ratification.