The spirit of Vienna – thoughts on SnT 2019

CTBTO Youth Group • 23 June 2019

By CYG member Ilya Vadimovich Kursenko

Midsummer 2019 and the bi-annual Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) Science & Technology Conference, SnT 2019 is about to begin. Hard to believe it’s been just over three years since the CTBTO Youth Group (CYG) was established to support the CTBTO agenda from the perspective of future leaders.

The CYG opened an untraveled path for passionate minded young women and men to pursue in common cause support for entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). There is more we can do to work together building on the near consensus in support of the treaty.

While support for the CTBT entering into force is almost universal the missing signatures to the treaty remind us of the differences in approach to it. This makes the situation even more challenging, although it is also an opportunity to foster more cooperation,  particularly among youth, united as a special group of advocates committed to a future of peace and security.

SnT 2019 demonstrates cooperation between a variety of disciplines, a ringing bell for citizens to come together in Vienna, where diplomacy had its renaissance in the Congress of Vienna in 1815 establishing the basis of modern diplomacy from the wreckage of war.  The symbolism of the CTBTO’s association with Vienna and the spirit of such achievement is an inspiration for diplomacy to achieve another comprehensive agreement the world needs.

Youth are not planning to wait until tomorrow to take on unfinished work - we are actively engaged in resolving challenges here and now. Comprehensive agreements are not easy to reach, yet once there is strong determination and extensive support they are simply a signature away.

Student groups are exploring more ways to get the message about the CTBT to the public to gain more understanding and support for it. We share our passion with others via social media, encourage high-level discussion and stay together as a family that believes in the treaty and is ready to act to support it. The more young individuals engage,  the stronger is the support.

The bells of SnT 2019 are  ringing louder than before, informing us of the need to act to bring the treaty into force. During the conference CYG members will be engaging in discussion to shape a broad  agenda. We are only three years old, although every year we grow in both literal and physical terms. And our labours will bear fruit.