5 July 2001
Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force
of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
New York, 25-27 September 2001
Background Document by the Provisional Technical
Secretariat of the Preparatory Commission for the
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
prepared for the Conference on Facilitating the Entry
into Force of the CTBT (New York, 2001)
1. The adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 marked the successful
conclusion of one of the longest negotiations in the history of arms control. The Treaty was opened for signature on 24 September 1996, when 71 States signed it. It is now approaching the status of a universal Treaty, with 161 Signatories. Seventy-six States, including 31 of the 44 States whose ratification is required for the Treaty to enter into force, have deposited their instruments of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
2. On 19 November 1996, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as the Depositary of the CTBT, convened a meeting of States Signatories in New York. The participating States adopted Resolution CTBT/MSS/RES/1 and the Text on the Establishment of a Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO (the “PrepCom
Document”) annexed to it, thereby establishing the Preparatory Commission and its Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) in Vienna. The PrepCom Document, which regulates the activities of the Preparatory Commission and the PTS, sets out the purpose of the Commission, namely to carry out the necessary preparations for the effective implementation of the CTBT, and to prepare for the first session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty. The Commission has created three subsidiary bodies: Working Group A on administrative and budgetary matters; Working Group B on verification issues; and an Advisory Group on financial,
budgetary and administrative matters. Altogether 91 States are accredited to the Commission in Vienna, and 65 States have designated their National Authorities or
3. Under Article I of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: “1. Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control.
2. Each State Party undertakes, furthermore, to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.” Thus, the CTBT prohibits all nuclear test explosions, for military, or any other purpose. Unlike some of its predecessors, it covers all environments and does not set a threshold from which the prohibitions should apply. It is clearly stated in the preamble to the Treaty that its primary objective is “to contribute effectively to the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects” and “to the process of nuclear disarmament”.
Article XIV of the Treaty
4. Under Article XIV, the Treaty will not enter into force until it has been signed and ratified by the 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty. This list comprises
States that formally participated in the 1996 session of the Conference on Disarmament, and that possess nuclear research and nuclear power reactors
according to data compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency. If the Treaty has not entered into force three years after the date of the anniversary of its
opening for signature, a conference of those States that have already ratified it may be held to decide by consensus what measures consistent with international law may be taken to accelerate the ratification process and to facilitate the Treaty’s entry into force. States Signatories will also be invited to attend the conference.
5. The Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, convened under Article XIV of the Treaty, was held from
6 to 8 October 1999 in Vienna. A total of 92 ratifying States and States Signatories participated in the conference, which adopted a Final Declaration calling upon all States which had not done so to sign and/or ratify the Treaty (document CTBT –
6. In the course of the follow-up to the 1999 conference and in accordance with paragraph 7(g) of its Final Declaration, Japan was selected “to promote cooperation to facilitate the early entry into force of the Treaty, through informal consultations with all interested countries”. Following informal consultations chaired by Japan in Vienna in 2000, a letter was sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, on behalf of a majority of ratifiers, requesting him to convene a conference pursuant to Article XIV of the Treaty in September 2001 in New York. On 7 March 2001, the Secretary-General of the United Nations issued invitations to the conference, to be held on 25-27 September 2001 in New York.
7. The CTBT provides for the establishment of a unique global verification regime that consists of an International Monitoring System (IMS), a consultation
and clarification process, on-site inspections (OSIs) and confidence building measures (CBMs). Data from IMS stations are processed and analysed by the
International Data Centre (IDC).
8. The IMS is to consist of a global network of 337 facilities: 170 seismic, 11 hydroacoustic, 60 infrasound and 80 radionuclide stations together with 16
radionuclide laboratories. The facilities, to be established or upgraded in some 90 countries around the world, will be capable of registering vibrations underground, in the sea and in the air, as well as detecting traces of radionuclides released into the atmosphere from a nuclear explosion. The IMS is designed to distinguish between a nuclear explosion and some 50 000 earthquakes occurring annually that it could detect. The IMS stations will transmit data by a state of the art global
communications system to the IDC in Vienna, where the data will be processed, analysed and used to detect, locate and characterize events. The IDC will produce
bulletins of events based on these data. All IMS data and IDC products will be made available to the Member States, which have the final responsibility for analysing the data. Ambiguous events could then be subject to consultation and clarification. As a final verification measure, OSIs are provided for in the Treaty.
9. The Treaty stipulates that the verification regime shall be capable of meeting the verification requirements of the Treaty at its entry into force. Hence, it is the
responsibility of the Preparatory Commission and the PTS to ensure the timely build-up of the regime. The present document describes measures undertaken by the
Commission and the PTS in accordance with their mandate.
International Monitoring System
10. The PTS is responsible for deploying and maintaining the International Monitoring System (IMS). The budgets approved by the Preparatory Commission
since 1997 for the installation of the verification network include the costs of the site surveys necessary to select the most appropriate locations, the purchase of
equipment, installation, final certification as accredited IMS facilities, and operation and maintenance.
11. Work on the IMS stations started in the second half of 1997. The installation of the monitoring network is proceeding at a steady pace. As of mid-2001, a total of 258 site surveys have been completed, corresponding to 80% of the stations. Altogether 113 stations in the four monitoring technologies are under construction
or under contract negotiation. Twenty of the primary seismic stations, 62 of the auxiliary seismic stations (many of which still require a final communications
connection), 2 hydroacoustic stations, 8 infrasound stations and 11 radionuclide stations have been completed and substantially meet specifications. To date, 12 of
these stations have been certified as meeting all PTS standards and have thereby been officially incorporated into the verification system. It is expected that up to
20 more stations will be certified by the end of 2001.
12. The two seismic networks are the most advanced, having incorporated many existing stations devoted to national and international programmes of earthquake
and seismic verification research, which will be upgraded to meet PTS specifications. All of the infrasound and radionuclide stations and most of the hydroacoustic stations will be new. In addition to the stations being upgraded or established by the PTS, about 50 additional stations, mainly seismic, are sending data via the prototype International Data Centre (pIDC), in the United States of America, which was established as part of the Third Technical Test (GSETT-3) conducted by the Group of Scientific Experts of the Conference on Disarmament.
13. On the basis of the guidance provided by the Preparatory Commission, the PTS is proceeding with the installation of authentication devices that provide a digital signature to the data transmitted to the IDC, and commands that are made to the stations, in order to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of the information.
Authentication and a direct connection to Vienna through GCI communications channels are a sine qua non for certification.
14. The establishment of the IMS network to meet the required technical specifications and high operational availability poses unprecedented challenges,
with many stations located in remote and inaccessible parts of the world. The initial phases of station establishment are well under way and more and more monitoring facilities will be certified and formally accepted into the IMS in the near future. Increasing attention is therefore being paid to the arrangements for long term operation, maintenance and repair of these globally dispersed facilities. To this end, a workshop was organized in 2000 for technical experts from States Signatories to explore the logistical concepts and options for the operation and maintenance of the IMS network. A number of general principles emerged from the workshop and were used to develop specific recommendations for implementation by the PTS in the near term to prepare for provisional operation and maintenance. The PTS has been actively addressing these recommendations, which cover: integrated logistics support and engineering management planning; network configuration management; staff resources; training; procedures for network operations monitoring; communications; and equipment design interface. The PTS is also developing a plan for an IMS operations centre to provide centralized monitoring and support functions.
15. Regarding IMS facility agreements or arrangements, the CTBT provides that States hosting international monitoring facilities and the PTS shall agree and
cooperate in establishing, upgrading, financing and operating and maintaining monitoring facilities in accordance with appropriate agreements or arrangements.
The Twelfth Session of the Commission (22-24 August 2000) adopted a decision calling upon States hosting international monitoring facilities, which have not yet
done so, to negotiate and to conclude IMS facility agreements or arrangements, in accordance with their national laws and regulations, and as a matter of priority
(CTBT/PC-12/1/Annex VIII). To date, 17 formal facility agreements or arrangements have been concluded in accordance with models adopted by the
Commission. Of these, 10 have entered into force and 2 are being applied provisionally. Legal arrangements in the form of facility agreements or arrangements, or interim exchanges of letters, have been concluded to regulate the Commission’s activities at 291 of the 337 IMS facilities, hosted by 70 of the 89 host States.
16. An important question considered by the Commission and its Working Groups on an ongoing basis is the issue of alternative locations, names and codes of the
facilities set forth in Annex 1 to the Protocol to the CTBT. Alternative locations, names and codes may be necessary, for example where Annex 1 uses an incorrect
name or code for an existing station, incorrectly locates a station or locates a station at an unrealistic site. The Tenth Session of the Commission (15-19 November
1999) decided upon the following legal procedures for introducing alternative locations, names and codes of monitoring facilities: (1) the procedure for the correction of errors before the entry into force of the CTBT in accordance with article 79, paragraph 2, of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969;
and (2) the procedure for introducing changes of an administrative or technical nature after entry into force in accordance with Articles IV and VII of the Treaty.
International Data Centre
17. The mission of the International Data Centre (IDC) is to support the verification responsibilities of Member States by providing products and services
necessary for effective global monitoring through the establishment and testing of facilities that will receive, collect, process, analyse, report on and archive the
seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide data received from IMS stations. The development of the IDC has been carefully planned on the basis of the
operational experience gained from GSETT-3 as well as from operations at the pIDC. The build-up of the IDC is proceeding according to a seven phase Initial Plan
for the Progressive Commissioning of the IDC, which was adopted at the Second Session of the Preparatory Commission in May 1997 (CTBT/PC/II/1/Add.2). This plan, which includes the delivery and testing of the applications software in four releases, is carefully monitored by the Commission.
18. The IDC will provide its products within minutes to days after an event. These include integrated lists of all signals and standard event lists and bulletins, which are expected to contain data for around 100 seismic events per day on average. More than 100 spectra from radionuclide stations will be analysed per day. Screened event bulletins will filter out those events that can be attributed to natural phenomena or man-made, non-nuclear phenomena. Executive summaries will contain a summary of all events, unscreened events and the performance and operational status of the IMS and the IDC. The standard and requested services include dissemination of data or products (via subscription, requests or the Web) as well as provision of expert technical analysis and data/software assistance.
19. Since the establishment of the PTS in 1997, the infrastructure and facilities required for the IDC have been established at the Vienna International Centre (VIC).
Some of the principal remodelling and engineering activities at the VIC have involved the installation of fire detection and suppression systems, a back-up
electric power system, an air-conditioning system for the computer centre and a state of the art operations centre. These improvements and sustained testing of the
facilities have ensured that the premises are secure and capable of supporting continuous round the clock operations. 20. All computer hardware, commercial software and public domain software systems necessary for the full scale testing of the IDC have been purchased and installed. Emphasis has been on full redundancy of all the important components to reduce the number of instances of a single point of failure. A 125 terabyte mass data storage system, providing archiving capacity for more than 10 years of verification data, began full operation in June 2001.
21. The installation of Release 2 of the IDC applications software (a complex assembly of computer programs, parameter files, data files and database tables)
enabled the IDC to start distributing data and products and provide initial services to States Signatories in February 2000. Release 3 of the software was installed in May 2001 as a preparation for the full scale testing of the IDC and for the final validation and acceptance of the software as described in the progressive commissioning plan for Phases 5 and 6. The IDC has begun to take over the development, integration and maintenance of the software, starting with software to support system monitoring, authentication key generation and management, Web services and National Data Centre (NDC) software. The initial version of the NDC software, Geotool, was made available to 29 States Signatories for testing and review.
22. Automatic data acquisition and processing are done 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Around 100 stations are currently sending data to the IDC. A high
quality Reviewed Event Bulletin (REB), based on the three seismoacoustic technologies, is produced on a continuous basis and with a target schedule within
four to six days after the end of each data day. During the year 2000 the REB included 18 218 events, with a record number of 357 events on one particular day.
The IDC processed around 2600 spectra obtained from radionuclide stations during 2000. Atmospheric transport modelling software and visualization tools were tested.
23. A total of 340 users, nominated by 48 States Signatories, currently have access to IMS data and IDC products. A user can obtain data and products by setting up a subscription, submitting a request for data or products of special interest, or browsing and downloading from the IDC secure web site. All access methods are
handled fully automatically by the IDC. During 2000 more than 200 000 products or data segments were sent by the IDC to users. Continuous IMS data could also be sent to NDCs upon request and 600 gigabytes were sent in 2000. The IDC customer service gives technical assistance, for example in accessing data and products, installing NDC software or explaining IDC processing and products.
24. Methods for exchange and comparison of atmospheric transport modeling results were tested by the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres of the World
Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the IDC in an informal exercise in May 2000. A calibration programme was initiated with the goal of improving location of events. The PTS awarded eight contracts to scientific organizations as a first step towards implementing this new and important programme. Evaluation of the IDC, the IDC software and documentation and the atmospheric transport modeling software was done by external teams or contractors.
Global communications infrastructure
25. The Global Communications Infrastructure (GCI) plays a critical role in the acquisition of IMS data as well as the dissemination of these data and IDC products
to States Signatories. In order to collect data from the 337 IMS facilities and distribute them together with IDC products to Member States, the PTS operates the
GCI as a worldwide, closed and secure satellite communications network. The GCI provides global two way data links from the IMS facilities, or NDCs, to the IDC in Vienna, and from the IDC to Member States. As many IMS stations are located in remote areas with harsh environments, the optimal and most reliable means of communication for data collection are satellite links. Once it is fully operational, the GCI network is expected to carry daily some 11 gigabytes of data, equivalent to over 4000 pages of information.
26. Many IMS stations and NDCs are connected by very small aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite stations on earth to one of five geostationary satellites, depending
on the geographical region. The satellites relay the data transmitted from the IMS stations and NDCs to one of five VSAT hubs. The data collected at these hubs are then transferred via a terrestrial frame relay network to the host processor at the IDC. This data-only network is closed, secure and inaccessible to any other
27. The signing of the GCI contract in September 1998, for a 10 year lease worth US$70 million, created the first global VSAT network of its kind in the world. The contract provides for turnkey services covering the design, manufacture, delivery, installation, operation and maintenance of the global network of VSAT satellite stations. At nearly three years into the contract term, 5 VSAT hubs have been established, and 56 VSAT stations have been installed at IMS stations, NDCs and development sites. Currently there are 108 VSAT installations in preparation, and site surveys have been completed for 78 of these. VSAT operating licences have been obtained in 22 countries. The PTS is working with States Signatories to obtain VSAT operating licences for a further 61 VSATs.
28. As a final verification measure, on-site inspection (OSI) is provided for in the Treaty (Article IV.D). The OSI regime as defined by the Treaty is unique: every
inspection will be a challenge inspection. Inspections are likely to consist of large and long term field activities with use of several visual, geophysical and
radionuclide techniques. Instead of a permanent inspectorate, there would be a roster of potential inspectors nominated by Member States. Experiences and lessons
learned in the context of other multilateral disarmament treaties are of reference value, but the ultimate establishment of this regime will require its own method.
Therefore, the Preparatory Commission has been endeavouring to define and build up its OSI capabilities in accordance with Treaty requirements. This includes the
development of a draft Operational Manual setting out the procedures for inspections, designation of OSI equipment specifications, acquisition of a limited
amount of inspection equipment for testing and training purposes, and development of a long range Training and Exercise Programme to develop a cadre of potential
29. The initial draft rolling text of the OSI Operational Manual has been produced in the framework of Working Group B and is now entering the elaboration phase.
The initial concept of the OSI infrastructure includes an Operations Support Centre, a database and equipment storage facilities. The Preparatory Commission is working to define OSI equipment specifications for the initial and continuation periods of inspection. A Seismic Aftershock Monitoring System has been procured and testing (including field deployment) has begun.
30. An inspection field experiment was successfully conducted in October 1999 in Kazakhstan. A further experiment is planned for September/October 2001 in
Slovakia. Lessons learned from the field experiments create a basis for the development of OSI methodology and allow testing of OSI procedures and equipment under realistic conditions.
31. Training is an important activity of the PTS. The focus of IMS training is to train personnel involved in IMS station operation for the four IMS technologies.
Since 1997, the PTS has conducted five IMS Introductory Training Programmes in which 151 persons from 88 countries participated. Five Technical Training
Programmes have taken place from 1998 to 2001, attended by 201 trainees from 73 countries hosting IMS stations.
32. The IDC provides six-month training courses, the objectives of which are to increase the understanding of the functioning of the IDC as well as to enlarge the
pool of possible candidates for analyst positions. Since 1998, 34 States Signatories have provided trainees to the six training courses held to date and around half of the trainees have been subsequently recruited to the IDC. In addition, 66 persons have participated in the four training courses for NDC personnel, the objective of which is to provide the information necessary for States Signatories to take greater advantage of the data, products and services available from the IDC.
33. The PTS has conducted five OSI Introductory Training Courses, in which over 170 trainees from close to 40 States Signatories participated. One Experimental
Advanced Course has been held to date to generate inputs for the draft OSI Operational Manual. Another is planned for 2001. Two tabletop exercises, aimed at
testing procedures in the draft manual, have been held.
Confidence Building Measures
34. As set out in Article IV.E, paragraph 68, of the CTBT, confidence building measures (CBMs) are meant to accomplish two primary objectives. The first is to
“contribute to the timely resolution of any compliance concerns arising from possible misinterpretation of verification data relating to chemical explosions.” The
second is of a more technical nature: “assist in the calibration of the stations that are part of the International Monitoring System.” Part III of the Protocol to the Treaty outlines the voluntary nature of the CBM regime. The key components of this regime are data exchanges on single chemical explosions of 300 tonnes or more of TNT-equivalent blasting material. Four separate measures are envisaged: (a) individual event reporting; (b) annual event reporting; (c) site visits; and
(d) calibration explosions.
35. At its Ninth Session, in August 1999, the Preparatory Commission adopted “Guidelines and Reporting Formats for the Implementation of Confidence-Building
Measures” and agreed on the establishment of a database on chemical explosions (CTBT/PC-9/1/Annex II, Appendix IV), thereby creating the basic technical
conditions for the implementation of the CBM regime after entry into force of the CTBT.
36. The concept of evaluation of the establishment and future operation of the CTBT verification regime, although not defined in specific provisions of the Treaty,
is being developed by the Preparatory Commission and the PTS as an integral component of the verification regime. Evaluation relates to quality and efficiency, as
well as to value for money considerations, all of which are of primary interest to States Signatories.
37. The Evaluation Major Programme has been developed in two basic directions: (a) the setting up and operation of a comprehensive framework for ongoing
evaluation of the verification activities; and (b) the establishment of a sustainable Quality Assurance System for the CTBT verification regime. Some of the
achievements of this “evaluation package” are the definition of initial metrics for the evaluation of the monitoring activities and products; assessment of quality
characteristics for software used by the PTS; establishment of a Quality Assurance System; drafting of a Quality Manual for verification activities; quality assurance
inputs for the operational manuals of the verification regime; and involvement of, and interaction with, NDCs in evaluation and quality assurance work. To achieve
these goals, use was made of outside expertise, especially on quality assurance issues, and workshops were held, with substantial contributions by experts from
Provisional Technical Secretariat
38. Following the appointment of Mr. Wolfgang Hoffmann as Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission on 3 March 1997, the PTS opened its offices in
Vienna on 17 March 1997. As of 30 June 2001, the PTS comprised 254 staff members from 68 countries. The number of staff in the Professional category had
reached 156. The PTS is also committed to a policy of equal employment opportunities. The representation of women in Professional positions had reached
42, corresponding to 26.9% of the staff in the Professional category. The approved budget for the Commission for 2001 is $83.5 million. As of 30 June 2001, 74.86% of assessed contributions had been received. The collection rate for assessed contributions has been constantly high, with 97.37% received for the year 2000, and 98.49% for 1999.
39. From 1997 up to the financial year 2001, total budgetary resources approved for the Preparatory Commission amounted to $324.1 million. Of this amount,
$250.8 million, or over 77%, has been dedicated to verification related programmes, including $126.7 million for the Capital Investment Fund (CIF) for the installation and upgrade of the IMS station networks. Budgetary resources approved to date for the CIF represent about 56% of the estimated requirement for fully financing the completed networks. Other verification related programme funds are used to finance the IDC and activities in the OSI and Evaluation Major Programmes. Non- verification-related programme funds as a percentage of total budgetary resources have remained consistently low, and the ratio improved further in recent years. In 2001, only 17.1% of the total budgetary resources were allocated for nonverification- related activities.
40. In its interaction with States, the PTS has placed emphasis on the 44 States whose ratification is necessary for the Treaty to enter into force, as well as on the
89 States hosting IMS facilities. The four regional International Cooperation Workshops held to date, in Beijing, Cairo, Istanbul and Lima, have stressed the
importance of national implementation measures and Treaty signatures and ratifications.
41. The PTS stresses the benefits of Treaty participation not only from the security aspect, but also in the civil and scientific applications of the verification
technologies, in accordance with Treaty provisions. It aims to enhance understanding of the significance of the Treaty and the work of the Commission,
with a view to increasing participation of States in this work and to advancing signature and ratification of the Treaty.
42. Outreach material, in printed and in electronic form, is continually being updated or developed. The Commission’s web site <www.ctbto.org> provides up to
date information for both the general public and specialized audiences. Briefings and information products tailored to the requirements of States, multilateral fora,
non-governmental organizations, the media, students and others are provided regularly. A newsletter, CTBTO News, is issued to States with updates on the status
of the Treaty and the work of the Commission.
43. The Agreement to Regulate the Relationship between the Preparatory Commission and the United Nations entered into force on 15 June 2000 upon its
approval by the United Nations General Assembly. Pursuant to the agreement, the PTS and the United Nations Secretariat regularly consult on issues of joint interest and the Commission also participates in the United Nations security arrangements in the field. An agreement with the United Nations Development Programme on the provision of operational support services and an implementing arrangement on the use of the United Nations laissez-passer by officials of the Commission were concluded in December 2000. Concurrently, with the goal to facilitate contacts with New York based Permanent Missions, the Commission established a non-resident liaison office at United Nations Headquarters in November 2000.
44. The fifty-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly included an item on its agenda entitled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the
Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization” (agenda item 177). The Executive Secretary addressed the General
Assembly under this agenda item on 30 October 2000. On the same occasion, the delegation of Mexico, in its capacity as Chair of the Commission, introduced a draft decision, which was adopted without a vote, including the same item on the agenda of the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly.
45. An agreement which provides for cooperation between the Preparatory Commission and the WMO, particularly in the exchange of meteorological data,
was approved by the Commission in November 2000 and by the Executive Council of the WMO in June 2001. The agreement will enter into force upon its approval by the World Meteorological Congress in 2003.
46. In the administrative area, the initial build-up stage of the PTS is complete. The Staff Regulations and Rules and the Financial Regulations and Rules have been
adopted. The focus has shifted to expanding and fine-tuning the support and services provided by the administrative sections to verification programmes.