Dear members of the GEM, dear Youth Group members, colleagues, friends,
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the first issue of the CTBT Advocacy Quarterly, a newsletter that summarizes and highlights significant events and developments for the CTBT and the CTBTO, with a particular focus on the activities of Youth Group and GEM members. In time, I hope that different members will contribute articles and summaries of their activities to the Quarterly, to share with other members of both groups and to identify potential synergies and cross-cutting issues.
In this issue, we reflect on the various events that took place in September in New York and Washington D.C. and introduce our short video series “20 years – 20 voices” offering different perspectives and commentary on this 20th anniversary year.
You will see that the format is kept quite informal, in the spirit of open communications and dialogue. I hope you will find the Quarterly engaging and interesting and I look forward to receiving your comments and feedback. This being the first issue, we look forward to constructive criticism and suggestions for future topics or issues to include.
On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the United Nations Security Council met in New York on 23 September 2016 for a historical debate on, and endorsement of, the Treaty. A resolution on the subject (2310/2016), co-sponsored by 42 countries, passed with 14 positive votes; one country, Egypt, abstained.
"I welcome any initiative that serves to strengthen the norm against nuclear testing... Adopting this resolution today, keeps the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty relevant."
Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the CTBT
Three days before the 20th anniversary of the CTBT's opening for signature, foreign ministers and high-level representatives of Member States convened in New York on 21 September 2016 to issue a joint call for the Treaty's prompt entry into force.
The eighth Ministerial Meeting was chaired by the Foreign Ministers of the “Friends of the CTBT” – Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Article XIV co-chair Japan, and the Netherlands – in cooperation with Article XIV co-chair Kazakhstan and the United Nations. In his remarks, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told participants: “The Treaty’s failure to enter into force was unacceptable when I entered office in 2007. It is beyond unacceptable now.”
"Pending the entry into force of the Treaty, we call upon all States to maintain moratoria on nuclear weapon test explosions and other nuclear explosions and to refrain from any actions that would undermine the Treaty's object and purpose."
Highlights Regarding Recent Activities of GEM Members
Below are a few highlights regarding recent activities of selected GEM members.
During an interview with “The Asahi Shimbun”, Hans Blix gave his remarks on the latest resolution that encourages the United Nations General Assembly to engage in a debate for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Blix highlighted the role that Japan could and should take for promoting a legally binding instrument to ban nuclear weapons.
In a recent Op-ed, Sergio Duarte warns that the taboo against nuclear testing is at risk, and with it “the structure painstakingly built by the international community to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and advance the goal of nuclear disarmament”. The entry into force of the CTBT is vital, he argues, to prevent such a dangerous development and an acceleration of the nuclear arms race.
On 23 November Browne was part of the event “Changing Governments and Nuclear Policy”, a panel discussion for examining the priorities, challenges and choices ahead for the next U.S. President.
Angela Kane received Dag Hammarskjöld Honorary Medal by the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier for her contribution during the negotiations with Syrian regime and for successfully destroying the Syrian stock of chemical weapons. Kane was part of the panel discussion of N.E.X.T, “Nuclear Experts on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation” in Berlin.
Jayantha Dhanapala has recently published two new articles on the topic of nuclear weapons:
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini participated at this year’s “EU Conference on Non-proliferation and Disarmament” in Brussels, together with CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo and UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo. “Non-proliferation and disarmament have been at the core of the European Union foreign policy and of my daily work,” said Mogherini.
The Ploughshares Fund released their report “10 Big Nuclear Ideas for the Next President” on 16 November 2016. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry is one of the report’s authors and Ellen Tauscher was a panellist at the launch event .
Highlights Regarding Recent Activities by Youth Group Members
CTBTO Youth Group members have been very active in writing and publishing articles and producing films on a wide range of topic subjects, such as the Treaty’s entry-into-force and non-proliferation in general. The views expressed in these articles are those of the authors and should not be seen as representing the Organization.
CTBTO Youth Group (CYG) members regularly participate in and contribute to relevant events and activities to help raise awareness on the mandate of the Organization and to convey the importance of a legally binding global ban on nuclear testing. Over the past few months, CYG members were involved in high-profile events in Washington, New York, Brussels, and beyond.
In September, CYG member Carlos Rodriguez joined the CTBTO delegation during the general debate at the opening of the General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York. He supported the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the CTBT, the Swaziland and Myanmar Treaty ratification ceremony, the launch event for the commemorative stamps for the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and more.
“Having an international youth effort to bring the treaty into force is essential. If we’re going to secure the test ban’s entry into force, it’s going to be through an effort like this one, which brings the CTBT to the public’s attention. We’re going to need all of you to get it done.”- Tom Collina
Raymond Wang and Kyle Pilutti met with CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo at the EU on Non-proliferation Conference in Brussels in November.
“I always enjoy meeting with CTBTO Youth Group: it's their generation & enthusiasm that will bring this Treaty in force,”- Lassina Zerbo
And, looking ahead: on 6 December CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo, and students will have an interactive dialogue at the Vienna International Centre. The event offers an opportunity for students to share their views and thoughts on the CTBT, as well as to ask questions. At the same time, CTBTO and UNODA will be looking for new ideas and suggestions from the younger generation.
SIRIUS Summer School
Teenagers from the SIRIUS Summer School in Sochi, Russia, participated in an online seminar with CTBTO Directors on 16 August 2016, to learn about the CTBT's verification technologies and share their own ideas on ways to highlight the CTBT. The students were given the opportunity to present their recommendations to the directors of the CTBTO's technical divisions.
The seminar was organized by CTBTO Youth Group member Anastasia Shavrova with the purpose of raising awareness and interest among the younger generations about the Treaty and how its verification system deters and prevents nuclear testing. During the seminar, students came up with creative options to promote the Treaty to their peers. Ideas comprised involving celebrities and gaining opinion leaders’ endorsement, including nuclear issues in school curricula, and fostering cooperation with environmental organisations.