By J Natranis
NEW YORK (IDN) – The international community must pursue broader measures of prevention in the context of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, in particular by addressing the conditions conducive to terrorism, especially preventing violent extremism, stopping the flow of foreign fighters, blocking terrorist financing, and working to promote human rights and sustainable development, according to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Reacting to the outcome of the Nuclear Security Summit that concluded on April 1 in Washington, D.C. Ban’s Spokesperson said: “The Secretary-General welcomes the outcome of the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit. He wholeheartedly endorses the Communiqué adopted by the participating States as well as the Action Plan in support of the United Nations. These will help to ensure that the gains made through this process will be sustained in the future.”
The Secretary-General outlined a number of areas where more focus is needed moving forward. This included sustaining high-level political momentum, developing concrete recommendations on the nexus between nuclear terrorism and cyber security, and for the international community to bridge the gap on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the Spokesperson said.
The efforts of the United Nations in confronting the global challenge of nuclear terrorism rest on two pillars. The first is Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). States, industry and civil society all have key roles to play in implementing its mandate and provisions so that all Member States can rise to the challenge.
The second is the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. Universal adherence to this Convention is crucial. All remaining States should join. We need to step up our efforts to build the capacities of States Parties.
The United Nations has a key role to play in responding to any use or threat of use by terrorists of nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological materials, Ban’s Spokesperson added. This includes by strengthening information sharing on terrorist and foreign terrorist fighters as well as improving border controls and national capacities and strategies.
In case any use results in a complex emergency that transcends national and international capacities, the United Nations is prepared to coordinate the response in the humanitarian and other areas, in assisting Member States.
The fourth Nuclear Security Summit, joined by more that 50 countries from around the world, said: “The threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism remains one of the greatest challenges to international security, and the threat is constantly evolving.”
The leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. said they were proud to observe that the Summits have since 2010 raised awareness of this threat and driven many tangible, meaningful and lasting improvements in nuclear security.
The Summits have also strengthened the nuclear security architecture at national, regional and global levels, including through broadened ratification and implementation of international legal instruments regarding nuclear security.
“We underline the importance of the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment and the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and will continue to work toward their universalization and full implementation. We welcome the imminent entry into force of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Facilities and encourage further ratifications;” the Nuclear Security Summit Communique said.
The participants reaffirmed their commitment to shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy. They also reaffirmed that measures to strengthen nuclear security will not hamper the rights of States to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
“We reaffirm the fundamental responsibility of States, in accordance with their respective obligations, to maintain at all times effective security of all nuclear and other radioactive material, including nuclear materials used in nuclear weapons, and nuclear facilities under their control,” the Communique stated.
However, more work remains to be done to prevent non-state actors from obtaining nuclear and other radioactive materials, which could be used for malicious purposes. The participating states therefore committed themselves to “fostering a peaceful and stable international environment by reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism and strengthening nuclear security”.
The Communique said: “Sustaining security improvements requires constant vigilance at all levels, and we pledge that our countries will continue to make nuclear security an enduring priority. We, as leaders, are conscious of our responsibility. Actions taken today can prevent tomorrow’s nuclear security incidents. Where we choose to take such steps visibly, in light of national conditions and while protecting sensitive information, we contribute to strengthening and building confidence in the effectiveness of our national nuclear security regimes.
“Countering nuclear and radiological terrorism demands international cooperation, including sharing of information in accordance with States’ national laws and procedures. International cooperation can contribute to a more inclusive, coordinated, sustainable, and robust global nuclear security architecture for the common benefit and security of all.
“We reaffirm the essential responsibility and the central role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in strengthening the global nuclear security architecture and in developing international guidance, and its leading role in facilitating and coordinating nuclear security activities among international organizations and initiatives and supporting the efforts of States to fulfill their nuclear security responsibilities. We welcome and support the Agency in convening regular high-level international conferences, such as the December 2016 international conference on nuclear security including its Ministerial segment, to maintain political momentum and continue to raise awareness of nuclear security among all stakeholders.
“We seek to maintain the international network of officials and government experts who have supported the Summit process and to incorporate the broader community of States, as well as encourage the continued engagement of relevant partners in nuclear industry and civil society.
“In our continued collective determination to ensure political momentum and to continuously strengthen nuclear security at national, regional, and global levels, we resolve to implement the attached Action Plans, in support of the international organizations and initiatives to which we respectively belong (the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, INTERPOL, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction), to be carried out on a voluntary basis and consistent with national laws and respective international obligations. These plans reflect the political will of participating States.”
The 2016 Summit marked the end of the Nuclear Security Summit process in this format. The participating States affirmed that the Communiqués from the 2010, 2012 and 2014 Summits and the Work Plan of the 2010 Summit will continue to guide our efforts as they endeavour to fully implement them. . [IDN-InDepthNews – 2 April 2016]
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Official photography of the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit.