Preparatory commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)

Provisional Technical Secretariat


Address by the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Mr. Wolfgang Hoffmann (11 November 2001)


Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

New York, 11-13 November 2001


 1. Mr. President. I believe it is symbolic that Mexico is presiding over the Conference. Your country has an outstanding record in disarmament and non-proliferation and undertook relentless efforts during the preparatory phase of the Conference. I am confident that we will see a successful outcome of this endeavour.


 2. I would like to use this opportunity to express my heartfelt sympathy for the people of the United States of America in view of the horrendous terrorist attack on their country. I am convinced that in these circumstances moving forward in areas of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation by promoting a comprehensive nuclear test ban becomes an even more important and urgent task.


 3. Mr. President, It gives me great pleasure to address the Conference in this historic chamber where the Treaty was opened for signature five years ago, on 24 September 1996. Seventy-one States signed the Treaty on that day. We have moved a long way since then. The number of States Signatories has now reached 161 and 84 States have ratified the Treaty, including 31 of the 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty, whose ratification is necessary for entry into force. The progress that has been made towards achieving the universality of the Treaty would not have been possible without the significant efforts of ratifying and signatory States and the support of civil society. The Provisional Technical Secretariat has also focused its outreach activities on facilitating the entry into force of the CTBT.


 4. Since the opening for signature of the Treaty, the United Nations General Assembly and other multilateral fora have called for signature and ratification of the CTBT as soon as possible. The 2000 Millennium Summit provided further momentum to the signature and ratification process, with five States signing the Treaty and two depositing their instruments of ratification during the Summit. However, much remains to be done to advance the universality of the Treaty. Without the ratification of the remaining 13 States listed in Annex 2, entry into force will continue to elude us. I strongly hope that the views of the majority of the international community voiced at this Conference will be heeded and will help to bring us closer to the goal of entry into force.


 5. Mr. President, I am fortunate in the sense that I was one of the negotiators who brought to a conclusion the negotiations on the CTBT, which for decades remained an unattainable aspiration of mankind, and now it is my task to turn words into deeds, to oversee the build-up of the infrastructure for the implementation of the Treaty. Considerable progress has been made since the Provisional Technical Secretariat opened its offices in Vienna in March 1997. For detailed information on its activities in establishing the Treaty verification regime, I would like to refer delegates to the background document prepared by the Provisional Technical Secretariat (CTBT-Art.XIV/2001/3). In my brief remarks today, I will highlight some major milestones in this work.


  6. The Treaty provides for the establishment of a unique global verification regime comprising an International Monitoring System, a consultation and clarification process, on-site inspections and confidence building measures, and stipulates that the verification regime must be capable of meeting the verification requirements of the Treaty at entry into force. The regime is unique in the sense that the bulk of the capital investments should be made during the preparatory phase. Therefore, the support for the activities of the Preparatory Commission and the Provisional Technical Secretariat by States Signatories is essential.


 7. The build-up of the International Monitoring System (IMS), comprising seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound, and radionuclide stations, as well as radionuclide laboratories, represents a major challenge. This global network of 337 facilities is to be established in some 90 States, with many stations located in remote and inaccessible areas. The IMS network 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. Steady progress has been made in the establishment of the IMS. Construction and upgrading of 121 IMS stations have been completed. Another 90 stations are under construction or under contract negotiation. Progress has also been made in providing the legal framework required by the Treaty to govern cooperation between the PTS and States hosting IMS facilities. Legal arrangements are currently in place with 71 host States covering 290 of the 337 IMS facilities.


 8. By means of the Global Communications Infrastructure (GCI), the data generated by IMS stations can be transmitted through a satellite communications network to the International Data Centre in Vienna and the National Data Centres of States Signatories. Establishment of the GCI is advancing and currently 65 IMS stations are linked to the GCI.


 9. The main function of the International Data Centre (IDC) as set out in the Treaty is to continuously monitor the data received from IMS stations for events that have characteristics of nuclear explosions and to make available the results to all States Signatories for their final analysis. Since early 2000, the IDC has been providing States Signatories with data, products and services on a test basis. Around 100 IMS stations are currently sending data to the IDC. In accordance with its commissioning plan, the IDC is currently preparing to assume full responsibility in 2002 for developing and maintaining its own software.


 10. On-site inspection (OSI) is provided for in the Treaty as a final verification measure. In this area, the development of a draft OSI Operational Manual setting out the procedures for inspections is a priority task for the Preparatory Commission and the PTS. Work is also proceeding on designation of OSI equipment specifications, acquisition of inspection equipment for testing and training purposes, and development of a training and exercise programme to build up a cadre of potential inspectors. OSI field experiments provide valuable experience by allowing the testing of OSI procedures and equipment under realistic conditions. One such experiment was held in September-October this year in Slovakia and has built upon the experience gained in the Kazakhstan field experiment successfully conducted in 1999.


 11. Since its establishment, the Preparatory Commission has matured as an international organization. The adoption of a relationship agreement between the Commission and the United Nations in 2000 marked an important strengthening of relations between the two organizations, and the Commission derives significant practical benefits from the agreement. Pursuant to the agreement, I will address the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly later this year.


 12. The Preparatory Commission also continues to develop its relations with other international organizations and with the academic and scientific community, as well as with non-governmental organizations. International cooperation activities of the PTS are aimed at promoting cooperation and facilitating exchanges among States Signatories relating to verification technologies required by the Treaty.


 13. As of 31 October 2001, the PTS comprised 266 staff members from 68 countries. Total budgetary resources approved for the Commission for the financial years 1997-2001 amount to US$324 million. Most of these resources have been dedicated to verification related activities. In 2000-2001, only 18.5% of the total budgetary resources were allocated to administrative and other non-verification-related programmes. Since the establishment of the Preparatory Commission, the collection rate for assessed contributions has been consistently high, with more than 98% received for the year 2000, which is a reflection of the strong political commitment of States Signatories to the Treaty.


 14. Mr. President, I have provided you with a brief overview of the work carried out by the Provisional Technical Secretariat in accordance with its mandate. The PTS remains firmly committed to assisting the Preparatory Commission in preparing for the entry into force of the Treaty and its effective implementation. Naturally, our ability to continue to carry out these functions depends on the sustained cooperation and support by States Signatories, which I trust will continue.