Photo: Youth Group members with the CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo in the centre in the second row. Credit: CTBTO - Photo: 2019

How Youth Can Help Entry into Force of the CTBT

Viewpoint by Ilya Kursenko

VIENNA (IDN) – For the first time, the youth had a strong presence at the five-day CTBT: Science and Technology 2019 Conference (SnT2019, seventh in a series, in which scientists, industry leaders, policymakers, civil society and academia participated. They gathered in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, to exchange knowledge and share advances in the monitoring and verification technologies relevant to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in a state of limbo for 23 years.

The large presence of the youth at the conference that concluded on June 28, impressed me too, a member of the CTBTO Youth Group. The group is open to all students and young graduates who are directing their careers to contribute to global peace and security and who wish to actively engage in promoting the CTBT and its verification regime.

The CTBTO has announced the first Innovation Challenge to CTBTO Youth Group (CYG) members. It tasks CYG members with investigating potential linkages between the CTBT and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). CYG members are encouraged to submit a research proposal highlighting original ideas on how the Treaty and the work of the organization can help to achieve one or more of the SDGs.

In fact, the CTBT and CTBTO contribute to preserving peace and security in a world riddled with problems not limited to nuclear insecurity. They offer opportunities that are beneficial to human well-being. Beyond serving the core mandate of the Treaty, the capabilities of the CTBT verification regime can also contribute to sustainable social and economic development and yield compelling new civil and scientific benefits.

Therefore, exploring the ways in which CTBT verification technologies and data collected by the International Monitoring System (IMS) can be paired with emerging tools (e.g. geospatial imagery, machine learning, data visualization) can help pave the way to potentially high impact outcomes for sustainable development.

Sharing IMS data for civil and scientific applications under standard confidentiality agreements has proven to be a benefit to the primary mission of monitoring for nuclear explosions because the expanded experience with and knowledge of signals and noise leads to enhanced analysis methods.

Many CTBTO Youth engaged in oral presentations. I delivered mine in cooperation with Jaona Andriamampandry from the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar. We researched on how CTBTO’s IMS can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. My background is International Relations, his is Seismology, but we managed to get together, for a bigger cause – studying how the CTBTO, can also save the whales in the Indian Ocean, that are dramatically exposed to climate change located so close to the melting ice of Antarctic.

This is an example of what the youth can do for bringing the CTBT into force.

I myself have never declined an opportunity to learn more about CTBTO. It seemed strange in the beginning and my peers were laughing at me saying: “Look at yourself, what an activist is possible to get out of you? Nuclear disarmament is not your topic! Get back to the grounds, that’s not your business.” I never liked people like that for they attempted to ruin my bright dreams. Though I am mostly thankful to people like that as they made me want to strive for my dreams stronger than ever.

And here we go with me being a CTBTO Youth Group member for more than three years now. It seems more realistic that a young man or a young woman can actually do a lot for nuclear disarmament. The youth is the most mobile generation, it’s best suited to launch on a campaign for the sake of the world in which the elders will certainly support us. [IDN-InDepthNews – 29 June 2019]

Photo: Youth Group members with the CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo in the centre in the second row. Credit: CTBTO

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