The World Science Forum (WSF) 2017 took place from 7- 11 November at the Dead Sea, Jordan, attracting more than 3000 participants from 140 different countries. Under the heading “Science for Peace”, the main impetus of the Forum was to bridge the communication gap between the scientific community and decision-makers and to encourage debate on the role of science in building peace and creating sustainable interlinked societies. Hosted by the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan, UNESCO, the Hungarian Academy of Science, the International Council for Science, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the WSF 2017 is one of the largest conferences of its kind.
Less than five months after the CTBTO “Science and Technology Conference” in Vienna, CTBTO delegates had the opportunity to bring to everyone’s attention once again the essential input of the CTBTO International Monitoring System (IMS) in the global attempt to utilise science as a main inductor for peace. The CTBTO contribution comes in two different ways:
- By monitoring the world for any nuclear test. By this, we must understand not only the contribution of the CTBTO in detecting nuclear tests but also its role in building trust and defusing the tensions between countries by successfully analysing – and dismissing – rumours of possible nuclear tests, such as in the case of the detected radioactive isotope Iodine-131 in Europe and the case of the second seismic event after the sixth DPRK nuclear test.
- By giving scientists and researchers from many different disciplines access to IMS data to conduct research and to publish new findings. The data recorded by the stations are widely considered to be unique and a treasure trove of knowledge with a broad range of civil and scientific applications. Today, CTBTO data are not only being used to detect nuclear explosions but also to study the impact of climate change, warn about tsunamis or to track radiation on a global scale.
The World Science Forum represented a very good opportunity also for CTBTO Youth Group members to raise awareness on the CTBT and for interacting with scientists, policy makers and other participants. Although the five CTBTO Youth Group members that were part of the CTBTO delegation travelled from different regions of the world, they brought with them the common goal of a world without nuclear tests. During the sessions, they seized the opportunity to exchange their perspectives and introduced the other participants to the case of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
The highlight of their participation was the meeting with the HRH Princess Sumaya of Jordan and the South African Minister for Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor who stressed once again their commitment to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. According to HRH Princess Sumaya “CTBTO ensures that innovation is deployed for verification and monitoring so that we all feel more secure”.
The WSF 2017 focused great attention on young scientists and their contribution to the discussion on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) issues. The scientists visited one of the most exciting CTBTO exhibits, the OmniGlobe that visualizes the International Monitoring System (IMS) and creates a tangible experience of the monitoring network which spans the globe for the detection of nuclear tests 24/7. They found the CTBTO technology impressive and they showed interest in the CTBTO Youth Group as a way to link the scientific community, policy makers and the youth.
This was a golden opportunity also for bringing the nuclear weapons issue closer to the many Jordanian youngsters that were part of the Forum. “What I found most impressive is the fact that the CTBTO attempts to tackle one of the most important issues of the 21st century: nuclear weapons, and as such, it is of great importance also to me and my peers,”- says Haya Fakhruddin, a seventeen years old student at the National Orthodox School from Amman who learned about the CTBT during the forum. In addition, she urged “all her peers to engage in a better understanding on nuclear tests and the danger that these may cause to humans and to nature”.
To conclude, the CTBTO Youth Group released a statement endorsing the Declaration of the World Science Forum 2017. “The document offers a holistic yet concise framework for how scientific and policy communities can better the world together,”- CTBTO Youth Group.