The two entities of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the United Nations Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) and the UNODA Geneva Branch, organized a regional workshop on banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices from 22 to 23 May 2019 in Pretoria, South Africa. The workshop was organized in collaboration with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South Africa for States from Eastern and Southern Africa and falls within the project to provide support to States in African regions to participate in the high level Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) expert preparatory group Consultative Process.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Representatives of the host country, African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), UNDP South Africa, and UNODA who delivered opening remarks and Representatives from Norway, Russia, and United States of America. A video address by Ms. Heidi Hulan, Chairperson of the High Level FMCT Preparatory Group (HLFPG), was also displayed during the session.
The workshop, which gathered 12 states namely Botswana, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the host country South Africa and a regional organization AFCONE, aimed at providing information and raising awareness at the national, regional and international levels about the importance of advancing efforts to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. The workshop provided participants with an opportunity to acquire technical knowledge on the subject matter as well as gain insights into past and current institutional processes aimed at advancing negotiations of a treaty.
Fissile material is a key component in the production of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Therefore, a non-discriminatory, multilateral and international treaty banning the production of fissile material would represent a practical and significant contribution to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.