Created for the build-up and preparation for entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is an international organization with the vision of global non-proliferation and disarmament. The CTBTO was established on 19 November 1996.
The CTBT bans nuclear explosions on the Earth's surface, in the atmosphere, underwater, and underground. Thus, it is a cornerstone of the international regime on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons; it is also an essential tool for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. Universality of the Treaty would provide the solution for constraining the continuation of development of nuclear weapons and ending the development of advanced new types of these weapons. It would also contribute to regional and international peace and security, thereby facilitating information-sharing and participation in various forms of international cooperation.
On a technical level, to detect a nuclear explosion, the CTBTO is currently establishing an extensive and highly competent International Monitoring System (IMS), which uses radionuclide, seismic, hydroacoustic, and infrasound verification technologies that pick up waves and particles dispersed from explosions.
The CTBTO’s main objective is to ensure that the IMS is completed by the time the Treaty is signed by all necessary Parties and enters into force. Once completed, the IMS will consist of 321 monitoring systems and 16 laboratories built in 89 countries around the world.
In 1996, the UAE signed the CTBT and in 2000, it ratified the Treaty. As a State Signatory, the UAE contributes to the annual budget so that the organization can continue building up the Treaty’s verification regime. It also contributes to promoting the signature and ratification of the Treaty by States whose cooperation is needed for the Treaty’s entry into force.
The verification regime consists of the following:
• International Monitoring System
• International Data Centre
• Global Communications Infrastructure
• Consultation and clarification
• On-Site Inspection
• Confidence-building measures
In addition to the Treaty’s advancement toward entry into force, the CTBTO’s verification regime offers additional benefits to States Signatories. For example, States Signatories have access to all the data collected by the IMS via the International Data Centre (IDC). The IDC, located at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria, supports the IMS by processing and analyzing the data registered at the monitoring stations, and distributes these data in bulletins to States Signatories.
From the IDC, States Signatories also benefit from extensive data and products related to civil and scientific development, especially in the case of natural disaster warning and preparedness, knowledge expansion and civil welfare. All data available are distributed in near real time, which is instrumental for natural or man-made hazard mitigation and warning.
In March 2011, the CTBTO was able to determine the dispersion of radionuclides in the atmosphere caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and provided relevant information to States Signatories. In addition to identifying previous nuclear tests, in February 2013, several of the CTBTO's IMS stations detected the announced nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. All data collected by the IDC are archived and can be used to gain further understanding of natural hazard risks, Earth processes and other scientific studies. The CTBTO continues to provide instrumental tools for the technical advancement of its Member States.