Brenna Gautam is a CTBTO Youth Group Member who will be working with the Project to post brief daily updates about the on-goings at the conference as it relates to the CTBTO Youth Group, civil society, and capacity building. She is a student at Georgetown Law School. Shervin Taheran is the program and policy associate at the Arms Control Association.
Day 2: Tuesday, June 27, 2017
The CTBTO Science and Technology 2017 kicked off on Tuesday, June 26, 2017 with a High Level Opening panel moderated by Sanam Shantyaei from the France24 news television network, that stressed the critical juncture faced by the disarmament community in the year 2017. With North Korea conducting nuclear tests, diplomats negotiating for a ban on nuclear weapons at the United Nations, and the Doomsday Clock sitting at two and a half minutes to midnight, keynote speakers urged that the time for progress on the CTBT is now.
Challenging gender disparities in STEM careers and the nonproliferation field, the High Level Opening of the CTBT featured three female keynote speakers: President of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan Princess Sumaya of Jordan, Angolan Minister for Science and Technology, and Pascale Ultré Guérard, from the National Centre for Space Studies in France. Executive Secretary Dr. Zerbo applauded the women of the CTBTO and discussed the importance of more representation within the nonproliferation community.
In particular, the interaction between the proposed nuclear weapon ban treaty and the CTBT emerged as a subject of debate during the conference’s second day. Secretary-General Michael Linhart held that despite the controversy, a ban will strengthen rather than weaken disarmament efforts. In a later panel, Russian Ambassador at large Grigory Berdennikov dismissed the proposed ban as “destined to fail,” calling instead for small, verifiable steps to disarmament and pointing out that the ban’s lofty goal may harm preexisting treaties such as the CTBT.
However, these doubts were challenged by both Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for Uruguay Jose Luis Cancela and Jamaican Ambassador Shorna-Kay Richards during the panel “The CTBT’s Relevance in a Dynamic Global Context.” Ambassador Richards specifically countered the criticisms by championing the humanitarian framework and inclusive, democratic nature of the ban.
Meanwhile, the CTBTO Youth Group kickstarted a project called the "Youth Newsroom" which aims to bring the Science and Technology Conference and the CTBT to new audiences, under the direction of veteran journalists. The Newsroom will provide multiple updates a day, in various formats, whether traditional short write-ups of the discussions taking place, or interviews, or video blogs, to name a few.—BRENNA GAUTAM and SHERVIN TAHERAN
Further Resources on Day 2:
VIDEO: High Level Opening of the CTBT: Science and Technology 2017 Conference, Part 1. "CTBTO Welcome, Opening Remarks, and Keynote Addresses," Introduction: Sanam Shantyaei, France24; Opening Remarks: CTBTO Executive Secretary Dr. Lassina Zerbo and Austrian Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration, and Foreign Affairs Michael Linhart; Keynotes: Princess Sumaya of Jordan, President of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan; Maria Candida Pereira Teixeira, Angolan Minister for Science and Technology; and Pascale Ultré Guérard, National Centre for Space Studies, France, June 27, 2017. (1 hour, 10 minutes)
VIDEO: High Level Opening of the CTBT: Science and Technology 2017 Conference, Part 2. “Panel Discussion—Seizing Opportunities and Overcoming Challenges: The CTBT’s Relevance in a Dynamic Global Context,” Panelists: José Luis Cancela, Uruguay; Grigory Berdennikov, Russia; Shorna-Kay Richards, Jamaica; William Potter, United States. (1 hour, 20 minutes)