CTBTO Youth Group First Anniversary

One year ago, during the symposium on "Science and Diplomacy for Peace and Security", held in Vienna, Austria, from 25 January to 2016, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said:

“I believe that the time has come to bring youth more firmly on board. I wish to invite all students and young graduates who are directing their careers to contribute to global peace and security to join a new CTBTO Youth Group.” It was right after this symposium that the CTBTO Youth group was established, paving the way for all students and young graduates who wish to contribute to global peace and security to engage actively in promoting  the CTBT and its verification regime.

“We will spare no effort to contribute to the universal goal and get our generation to witness the long-awaited entry into force of the Treaty,”CTBTO Youth Group

Twenty years after the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the young generation’s involvement is crucial to advancing the Treaty’s entry into force. The Youth Group members have boosted the discourse on the CTBT among academia, students, civil society, and media, have built a basis for knowledge transfer to the younger generation, and have introduced new methods and technologies in promoting the CTBT – social media, digital visualization, interactive means of delivering information etc.

“As youth, we are the future leaders of the world, the ones who will inherit and live in the world left behind for us, and the guardians of the hopes and dreams of our children and their children after them... We resolve to do our utmost in promoting the CTBT and its verification regime for a better, safer future,” Ken-Ben Chao, CTBTO Youth Group Member

Youth Group members actively engage in developing projects aimed to raise awareness on the importance of a legally-binding nuclear test-ban. Projects such as “E-learning” by Nathalie Osztaskina, the Sirius Summer Course by Anastasia Shavrova  and the “CTBT in Action” by Carlos Rodriguez-Cruz y Celis intend to provide participants with a comprehensive view on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues, legal instruments to prohibit nuclear testing, CTBT negotiations and adoption, and current challenges that the Treaty faces. Other projects consisted of the development of concept papers on innovative ideas to reinvigorate strategic support for the CTBT, as well as meetings with CTBT stakeholders to better understand challenges and enhance common efforts. These stakeholders have ranged from diplomats to renowned scholars from non-signatory or non-ratifying States and prominent NGOs. Members have also published articles in The Diplomat, South Asian Voice, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The Wire, IDN, Daily Times, Stimson, PNAS,  and other University journals or personal blogs with the main impetus to revitalize the discussion around the nuclear-test-banning among media and in their various regions.

“Youth have become leaders of today through the power of internet and social media and their impact on spreading the word about the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has been very noticeable during the past year, ”Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo

The CTBTO Youth Group currently has a membership of over 150 undergraduate and graduate students from their countries’ top universities, and young professionals from around the world sharing the common goal of achieving the entry into force of the CTBT. Among the various CTBT related events the CYG members have been present at the “Friends of the CTBT” Ministerial Meeting in New York, ther EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference in Brussels and at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

“I especially count on young people to press their leaders for action. And I really count on young people to raise their voice,”former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Members had the opportunity to put questions to CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo and UN High-Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo during the event “Conversation with Youth – Ending Nuclear Tests: why should I care” and to meet former UNSG Ban Ki-moon at the “CTBT20 Panel with UNSG Ban Ki-moon”.

“We affirm our shared vision for a world free of nuclear weapons. To that end, we hold the CTBT to be a critical next step towards nuclear disarmament and an important component of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime,” - from the joint statement of the CTBTO Youth Group

To mark the anniversary, a Facebook page and group have been launched by Youth Group members Mariam Arghamanyan and Marius Jano, and plans are underway for members to participate in the upcoming Science and Technology Conference (SnT2017).