Below is a statement by Ms. Angela Kane, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Conference on Nuclear Security on 2 July 2013 at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to begin my remarks by thanking the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for inviting me to speak to you today on behalf of the United Nations.
The purpose of this conference – enhancing global efforts on nuclear security – is a topic of utmost importance for the world community and has profound implications for international peace and security. While nuclear weapons became an unavoidable feature of international relations nearly seventy years ago, the world has only recently made the threat of nuclear terrorism a focus of concerted global attention. This attention is welcome but overdue.
As long as nuclear weapons exist, the possibility of their use – including by non-State actors – remains. Nuclear disarmament therefore continues to be the most credible and effective way to counter that risk, a point repeatedly recognized by the States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. All States have a responsibility to work progressively to de-legitimize and eliminate nuclear weapons—under effective and verifiable international control. The achievement of nuclear disarmament will bring us closer to a world of zero nuclear threats than any other possible measure.
As we move towards that goal, much remains to be done to strengthen nuclear security and to prevent unauthorized access to nuclear or radiological weapons and materials. Towards this end, the IAEA undeniably has played a leading role. Over the past twelve years, the Agency has significantly broadened and deepened its capabilities and provided related assistance to its Member States. As a result of these efforts, the world is far better equipped to prevent the nightmare scenario from coming to pass. In carrying forward the nuclear security agenda, it will be crucial to ensure that the IAEA has adequate resources, in order to enable it to meet this challenge.
Nuclear security is a global public good. As such, for nearly a decade the United Nations has contributed to global efforts to strengthen nuclear security, particularly through its work in the field of counter-terrorism. The work of the United Nations in this regard constitutes an integral component of the global nuclear security framework.
We continue to work assiduously to achieve the objectives of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), which aims to prevent non-State actors and terrorists from obtaining nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their delivery systems. I am pleased to note that since its adoption in 2004, we have seen a substantial increase in support for both the resolution’s objectives and for efforts to achieve them based on international cooperation, partnerships and interaction.
The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) supports the Security Council’s 1540 Committee by facilitating the national implementation efforts of Member States, including through country-specific and regional activities and in cooperation with relevant intergovernmental organizations.
UNODA has recently begun to actively promote partnerships with the private sector and industry to support the objectives of the resolution.
In April 2012, UNODA and Germany co-organized the first Conference of International, Regional and Sub-Regional Industry Associations on resolution 1540, which was held in Wiesbaden, Germany. This event launched the “Wiesbaden Industry Process”, which includes sustained outreach to key industry and private sector actors aimed at facilitating their contribution to national implementation efforts. I wish to express my appreciation to Germany for its continuing active support for this process and for its willingness to co-host additional industry-focused events on a regular basis.
UNODA has also reached out to the financial sector and last week, together with the Union of Arab Banks, co-organized a special session on resolution 1540 at the International Arab Banking Summit.
Another major UN instrument in this area, as you are aware, is the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT). Yet, while this Convention now forms a crucial part of the nuclear security architecture, at present only 86 States have joined.
It is vital that those States that have not yet become party to the Convention do so at the earliest possible date. ICSANT is among the treaties that have been highlighted by the Secretary-General for the 2013 Treaty Event. (24-26 September and 30 September – 1 October 2013).
In addition, the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) promotes the ratification and effective implementation of the 18 international conventions and protocols against terrorism. Seven of these instruments deal, to varying extent, with nuclear terrorism, and include ICSANT and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment. Implementing these seven instruments contributes to States fulfilling some of their obligations under resolution 1540.
The Terrorism Prevention Branch offers legal technical assistance and tailored capacity-building to Member States upon request, including through: raising awareness and building capacity; drafting and reviewing of national legislation; training of criminal justice and law enforcement officials; and enhancing cooperation in criminal matters. Members States are invited to avail themselves of UNODC’s technical legal assistance programme and capacity-building activities and to continue to support them.
As part of its ongoing efforts to bring the CPPNM Amendment into force and to promote the increased ratification and implementation of ICSANT, last month UNODC conducted a Workshop on both instruments for selected West African countries. A similar event for countries in Central and Southern Africa will take place in October this year. Both events have been made possible thanks to the kind financial contribution of the United Kingdom.
UNODC also works closely with relevant international and regional organizations and, for example, has developed with the IAEA model criminalization provisions against nuclear terrorism in implementation of relevant international legal instruments.
The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) also undertakes supporting activities in the area of nuclear security, specifically through its CBRN risk mitigation and Security Governance Programme, which was launched in 2004. The programme is based on an integrated approach incorporating all international, regional and national CBRN components into a common strategy. In this connection, all stakeholders, while operating autonomously, can establish common goals and create a security culture based on cooperation and common learning. The programme supports participating countries in improving information sharing and transferring of international best practices. It also optimizes the sharing and use of accumulated international and national experience in the area of CBRN risk mitigation.
UNICRI is partner of the European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative. Launched in 2010, the initiative addresses the mitigation of and preparedness against risks related to CBRN materials and agents. The Centres of Excellence initiative seeks to boost cooperation at national, regional and international levels, and to develop a common and coherent CBRN risk mitigation policy at national and regional level. The Initiative involves more than 50 countries and envisages the establishment of eight Secretariats coordinating efforts in eight regions and sub-regions of the world.
Finally, the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, which was established by the Secretary-General in 2005, includes a Working Group on Preventing and Responding to WMD Attacks. Its mandate includes strengthening the exchange of information and knowledge among relevant UN entities and international organisations related to response to WMD terrorist attacks. It has formulated a work plan to assess how the UN and certain international organizations would engage – including the level of coordination among them – should a terrorist attack occur involving the use of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons or materials.
In one example of the United Nations system working together, CTITF worked in partnership with the IAEA, UNODC, the UN Office of Legal Affairs and my own Office for Disarmament Affairs to organize the Secretary-General’s High-level meeting on Countering Nuclear Terrorism, with a Focus on Strengthening the Legal Framework. The meeting took place on 28 September 2012 and served as an important step to build upon new momentum in our efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism, a common priority in building a safer and more secure world.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, This conference will likewise be crucial in determining how to carry forward many of the goals set in recent years in the area of nuclear security. As always, the United Nations will continue to support the efforts of Member States and to cooperate with the IAEA in carrying out this important work.
I wish you every success in your work. Thank you.