Vienna, 19 October 2015
The European Union (EU), through a decision of the European Council on 12 October 2015, adopted a new voluntary contribution to the work of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), see also EU Delegation website. This is the sixth such contribution since 2006, bringing the total amount of EU voluntary contributions to around 19 million euros.
CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said:
“I believe that without the European Union’s support we could not have reached the current well-advanced status in the build-up and operational capabilities of the CTBT verification regime. This includes the EU’s help to developing countries to build capacities in CTBT verification technologies, thus getting buy-in from these countries into the world’s largest and most sophisticated multilateral verification system, referred to by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as one of the great achievements of the modern world. As we prepare to mark 20 years since the opening for signature of the CTBT, the strong political and financial support of the EU are vital in ensuring continued progress toward achieving entry into force.”
Building on previous EU voluntary contributions, the new EU Council Decision provides support to the CTBT verification regime in three main areas:
- Sustaining the International Monitoring System Network
The first part of the contribution aims to support the CTBTO’s network of monitoring stations the International Monitoring System (IMS). This includes assistance to countries hosting auxiliary seismic stations that need support (unlike for all other types of CTBTO monitoring stations, the upkeep and maintenance of this type of station is the financial responsibility of the host State).
Another project aims at enhancing the IMS capabilities to detect radioxenon, a radioactive noble gas emitted by nuclear explosions, but also by legitimate civilian activities such as medical isotope production. The contribution will fund both studies of global radioxenon background levels and developing a system to trap radioxenon emissions at the source.
Other projects under this heading include upgrades to the VDeC system, a portal that allows external researchers to access IMS data and International Data Centre Products, as well as upgrades to IDC software for analysing waveform (seismic, infrasound and hydroacoustic) data.
- Upgrading on-site inspection capabilities
To further the CTBTO’s on-site inspection capabilities, the contribution will allow for the purchase of multispectral imaging equipment for use from aircraft as was used in the last comprehensive on-site inspection exercise, the IFE14 in Jordan in last 2014. The contribution will also allow for the acquisition of a laser distance measuring system, also for use on an airborne platform, to support a range of on-site inspection techniques.
- Outreach and country-level capacity building
The contribution will allow the CTBTO to continue its capacity building programmes in developing countries, which has been an integral part of all previous EU voluntary contributions. This support allows these countries to establish and maintain a National Data Centre, which is the data centre maintained in each CTBT Member State to receive monitoring data and products and to advise its government on events of interest. The capacity building efforts will focus on the NDC-in-a-box standard software package and on the regions of Middle East and South Asia, as well as Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Far East.
As part of the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (PDF), these contributions aim to promote peace and stability, an endeavour for which the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. As a group, all 28 EU Member States have signed and ratified the CTBT. The EU Member States’ regular contributions amount to around 40% of the CTBTO’s budget.
For further information on the CTBT, please see www.ctbto.org – your resource on ending nuclear testing,
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