The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is an international organization (with its headquarters in Vienna, Austria) created for the build-up and preparation for entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The Treaty was opened for signature on 24 September 1996, creating a de-facto international norm on nuclear testing. The Treaty has yet to enter into force.


With the vision of non-proliferation and disarmament, the CTBT aims at preventing nuclear explosions on the Earth’s surface, in the atmosphere, underwater, and underground.


In order to detect a nuclear explosion, the CTBTO is currently establishing an extensive and highly competent International Monitoring System (IMS), which uses radionuclide, seismic, hydroacoustic, and infrasound verification technologies that pick up waves and particles dispersed from explosions.


The objective of the CTBTO is to ensure that the IMS is completed by the time the Treaty is signed by all necessary Parties and enters into force. Once completed, the IMS will consist of 321 monitoring systems and 16 laboratories built in 89 countries around the world.


Treaty Status and UAE Ratification


The UAE signed the CTBT in 1996 and ratified the Treaty in 2000. As a State Signatory, the UAE contributes to the annual budget of the organization to support the build-up of the Treaty’s verification regime and to promote the signature and ratification of the Treaty by States whose cooperation is needed for the Treaty’s entry into force.


In order for the CTBT to enter into force, the States listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty must sign and ratify the CTBT; these States were nuclear technology holders at the time of the opening for signature of the Treaty. In total, there are 44 Annex 2 countries, of which 36 have already signed and ratified. The remaining eight States include: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States.


Nevertheless, while these States are being encouraged to ratify the CTBT, Signatory States like the UAE meet on a frequent basis to support the build-up of the CTBTO’s verification regime so that this infrastructure can be in place by the time the Treaty enters into force.


The verification regime consists of the following:



• International Monitoring System


• International Data Centre


• Global Communications Infrastructure


• Consultation and clarification


• On-Site Inspection


• Confidence-building measures





In order for the build-up of the global verification regime to be concretely established and evaluated, in addition to maintaining transparency of the CTBTO to its Member States, meetings called Working Groups are administered yearly to report to States Signatories, and receive feedback from their technical experts. The Working Groups manage different tasks: Working Group A deals with budgetary and administrative matters that face the organization, Working Group B addresses scientific and technical matters related to the Treaty, and the Advisory Group is in charge of further supporting the Preparatory Commission using qualified experts on financial, budgetary and associated administrative matters.


The Permanent Mission of the UAE to the IAEA and CTBTO participates in Working Group meetings throughout each year, and keeps the UAE government up-to-date on matters facing the CTBTO.


The UAE supports the CTBTO politically as an important mechanism for global non-proliferation. In September 2010, the UAE made a statement at the Fifth CTBT Ministerial Meeting. The UAE continues to participate in meetings related to the Promotion of CTBT entry into force.


In addition to the Treaty’s advancement toward entry into force, the CTBTO’s verification regime offers States Signatories additional benefits, such as access to all the data collected by the IMS via the International Data Centre (IDC). The IDC, located at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria, supports the IMS by processing and analyzing the data registered at the monitoring stations, and distributing these data in bulletins to States Signatories.


From the IDC, there are extensive data and products available to States Signatories for civil and scientific development, especially in the case of natural disaster warning and preparedness, knowledge expansion and civil welfare. All data available are distributed in near real time, which is instrumental for natural or man-made hazard mitigation and warning. The UAE is a registered user of the Secure Server from where it can extract all the information that the CTBTO makes available. The use of the Secure Server is instrumental for States Signatories, as it keeps them up-to-date regarding all relevant events from around the globe collected at the IDC.


In 2011, the CTBTO was able to determine the dispersion of radionuclides in the atmosphere caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis, and provided relevant information to States Signatories. All data collected by the IDC are archived and can be used to gain further understanding of natural hazard risks, Earth processes and other scientific studies.


Most recently, in February 2013, the CTBTO efficiently detected, through its IMS stations, the announced nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Commencing hours after the test was undertaken, the CTBTO summoned States Signatories to technical briefings, where data findings were shared and discussed. The UAE participated in these briefings in order to obtain essential information regarding the nature of the event.  


The CTBTO continues to provide instrumental tools for the knowledge and technical advancement of its Member States. As a State Signatory, the UAE has committed itself to abide by and continually support the principles of non-proliferation and disarmament, as well as urge other States to equally do so.



In 2014, the UAE received an official visit from the CTBTO’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Lassina Zerbo. Mr. Zerbo met with the Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss issues of mutual interest, and the UAE’s on-going cooperation with the Preparatory Commission. Following the official visit, the UAE’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA and CTBTO, Ambassador Hamad Alkaabi, joined a group of high-level dignitaries to observe the largest simulated on-site inspection exercise ever undertaken by the CTBTO: the Integrated Field Exercise 2014 (IFE 2014). Taking place in Jordan, the full-scale simulation of an on-site inspection served as a significant step towards reaching major verification standards to test whether a nuclear explosion has taken place in a country.

Cooperation with the CTBTO  

One should face the reality that the role the UAE has shown in adhering to all standards and treaties in nuclear safety and security is a good example we can show the rest of the world.


~ Dr. Lassina Zerbo, CTBTO Executive Secretary  

The CTBT is an important tool for building mutual trust and confidence, which is needed to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons.


~ Ambassador Hamad Alkaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA & CTBTO 

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H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates meets with Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Abu Dhabi, 12 November 2014 

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A group of high-level dignitaries including H.E. Ambassador Hamad Alkaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA (left), visits operations site of the Integrated Field Exercise 2014 (IFE14) held in Jordan, near the Dead Sea, 15 November 2014 

Presentation of credentials of H.E. Ambassador Hamad Alkaabi to the CTBTO Executive Secretary Mr. Tibor Toth, CTBTO, Vienna, September, 2009