African Ambassadors discuss CTBT entry into force

CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo giving the keynote speech at the Africa Day event.

On the occasion of Africa Day, the annual commemoration on May 25 of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union), the German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, (Reconstruction Credit Institute) hosted a discussion evening in Berlin, Germany, attended by African ambassadors, government representatives, civil society and the media.

The Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Lassina Zerbo, was the keynote speaker for the event. He highlighted Africa's leading role in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Through the Treaty of Pelindaba, the African continent has made itself a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. Pointing to Africa's increasing cooperation with the CTBTO in verifying the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Zerbo encouraged African countries to assume a more proactive role in international security issues, particularly in the field of nuclear arms control.

Africa needs to be part of the global picture. We can't just leave a global security issue like nuclear arms control to the usual suspects.CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo
CTBT status in Africa - click for interactive map.

Zerbo used the occasion for bilateral talks with ambassadors of different countries in Africa that have yet to sign or ratify the CTBT. Of the region's 54 States, 51 have signed, of which 42 have already ratified the Treaty (as of May 2014). Zerbo emphasized that it was an African country - Guinea-Bissau - that became the symbolic 160th ratifying State on 24 September 2013.

Even the least developed African country is entitled to receive the same monitoring data as the world's most developed country. This makes the CTBT the most democratic treaty in the world.CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo
The Ambassador of Burkina Faso to Berlin, Marie Odile Bonkoungou Balima (2nd from right) hosted a round-table discussion with the embassy's staff.

Africa plays a key role in the CTBT verification regime as it is the region with the largest number of States hosting monitoring facilities. Once complete, there will be 38 monitoring facilities located in 24 African States – 21 seismic stations, 9 infrasound stations, 7 radionuclide stations and 1 radionuclide laboratory, see interactive map.