Provisional Technical Secretariat -
Five Years Old
The Provisional Technical Secretariat of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) will celebrate its fifth anniversary on 17 March 2002. The Secretariat started work in Vienna on 17 March 1997 under the Executive Secretary, Mr. Wolfgang Hoffmann, with a handful of staff members. Five years later, the organization has grown into a strong and confident international body with 271 staff members from 69 Member States. The Secretariat’s anniversary will be marked with special events at the Vienna International Centre on Monday, 18 March. These will include a press and NGO breakfast, and a seminar organized by VERTIC, a well-known NGO in the verification field. The seminar, entitled "CTBT Verification: Achievements and Opportunities", will be opened by the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
The Provisional Technical Secretariat is responsible for establishing the global verification regime to monitor compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The Secretariat supervises and coordinates the operations of the International Monitoring System (IMS) and the International Data Centre (IDC), which receives, processes, analyses and reports on IMS verification related data. The Secretariat is also responsible, among other tasks, for assisting in the development of operational manuals to guide the various components of the verification regime. It provides technical, analytical, legal and administrative support to the States Signatories.
In the course of the past five years, the Secretariat has achieved important progress in the establishment of the global network of 321 monitoring stations and 16 laboratories located in some 90 countries. More than 200 IMS site surveys have been conducted, and by the end of February 2002, installations at 122 stations had been completed. Some 87 stations and/or National Data Centres are connected through a satellite communications network, the Global Communications Infrastructure (GCI), to the International Data Centre here in Vienna. Raw data are received and analyzed in the International Data Centre and sent, together with other IDC products, to Member States.
The CTBT prohibits nuclear explosions in any environment. Drafted at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the Treaty was opened for signature on 24 September 1996 at the United Nations in New York. By the eve of the Secretariat’s anniversary, the Treaty has attracted 165 signatures and 90 ratifications. This is a clear indication of the importance that the international community attaches to the Treaty’s role, not only in bringing an end to a period that witnessed over 2000 nuclear test explosions worldwide, but also for its contribution to nuclear disarmament and to the enhancement of international peace and security.