The Provisional Technical Secretariat marks its fifth anniversary

The Provisional Technical Secretariat of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) celebrates its fifth anniversary this month on 17 March 2002. The Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) started work in Vienna on 17 March 1997 under the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr. Wolfgang Hoffmann, and today has more than 250 staff members.

The Provisional Technical Secretariat assists the Preparatory Commission and carries out functions determined by the Commission, including the verification activities listed in the Treaty. The Secretariat is responsible for supervising and coordinating the provisional operation of the International Monitoring System (IMS) and the International Data Centre (IDC), which receives, processes, analyses and reports on IMS data. The Secretariat is also responsible, among other tasks, for the development of operational manuals to guide the various components of the verification regime, and for administrative matters such as budgeting and work planning.

In five years of global operations, the Provisional Technical Secretariat has conducted hundreds of site surveys for the IMS. Over 125 of the 337 monitoring facilities listed in the Treaty have been established. Some 65 stations are sending data to the International Data Centre in Vienna through the Global Communications Infrastructure, a satellite communications network linking stations, the IDC and Member States. Field experiments to strengthen practical knowledge about on-site inspections have been held in Kazakhstan and Slovakia. International cooperation activities such as workshops and training programmes are also held to advance understanding of the Treaty and to enhance national capacities in CTBT verification-related areas.