The ninth issue of the newsletter CTBTO Spectrum is now available
The event in DPRK on 9 October 2006 leaves a clear imprint on this issue and runs through it like a thread. The new United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, sees the claimed test as a direct challenge to the nuclear non-proliferation regime and calls for an early entry into force of the CTBT. The High Representative Mr. Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union, emphasizes that the event underscores how important and urgent it is to bring the Treaty into force and to complete the build-up of the verification system. Dr. Kim Howells, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, recalls UN Security Council Resolution 1718 and reiterates his country's call on North Korea to sign and ratify the CTBT. Mr. Tibor Tóth, the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission calls the event a challenge to the international norm against nuclear testing and a real test for the CTBT verification regime.
One article describes the event as a test for the CTBT verification regime. Detailing all phases in the process of receiving, reviewing and analyzing relevant data and the distribution of data products to States Signatories, it is shown that the CTBT verification regime worked as intended. This was achieved with less than 60 % of the stations in the International Monitoring System contributing, with data processing systems under development, and with the organization in a test and provisional mode only. Applying timelines as foreseen by the Treaty, data was processed and made available to States Signatories as high quality data products, empowering the States to pass final judgment on the event.
Following the pattern in previous issues, the current issue of CTBTO Spectrum introduces the Treaty-defined North America and Western Europe geographical region. It is shown that this region with its 28 States is of great significance to the Treaty. All States of the region have signed the Treaty. With the exception of the United States of America, all States of the region have also ratified the Treaty. Since all States in the Treaty-defined Eastern Europe geographical region have ratified the Treaty as well, all States in Europe are now parties to the Treaty.
Following the catastrophe caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, the application of CTBT verification data for disaster prevention and mitigation was discussed intensely. CTBTO Spectrum looks at this discussion and the ensuing test exercises which culminated in the decision by the CTBTO Preparatory Commission to provide real-time data to selected tsunami warning centres.
In September 2006, the CTBTO marked the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the CTBT by the United Nations General Assembly and the Treaty's opening for signature. Michael Crowley, Executive Director of the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC), uses this occasion to look at past achievements and future challenges. He says that the claimed test by North Korea should motivate States Signatories to redouble their efforts in bringing the Treaty closer to entry into force. Two events this year, the NPT Preparatory Commission in April/May and the Article XVI Conference in September, should be seen as important opportunities to make real advances in this regard.
Under the heading "Verification highlights", the newsletter presents updates on the work of the Provisional Technical Secretariat, including the installation of an infrasound station on Ascension Island and ongoing preparations for a large-scale field exercise to test on-site inspection procedures.