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Thank you, Vladimir [Voronkov, UN Under Secretary General of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office]. I am pleased to be here today, launching this important new project and that the EU and the UNCCT are partnering to promote one of the key legal instruments for nuclear security, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT);
Security, defence and counter-terrorism are key priorities for the EU, as set out in our [European Union] Global Strategy. Through our policies and our engagements, including through the financial support we offer, we are addressing global challenges, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and terrorism.
A crucial point for us in the EU in this sense is to continue strengthening nuclear security worldwideto prevent nuclear terrorism and the misuse of nuclear and radioactive material. The EU contributed to the Nuclear Security Summit process and continues to participate actively in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.
While nuclear security remains the responsibility of individual States, international cooperation is essential to strengthening it, to ensure the protection of people and the environment.
The risk of state or non-state actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction or their delivery systems is something that we need to fight and eliminate together.
UN Security Council Resolution 1540, complemented by Resolution 2325, remains a key part of the international non-proliferation architecture in this regard. As EU, we have provided substantial political and financial support to the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540. We share the objectives of supporting States with identifying specific technical assistance, raising awareness of relevant programmes of technical assistance, and enhancing cooperation with international and regional organisations to help with national capacity building.
The risk of nuclear terrorism transcends borders. Serious proliferation challenges continue to be a threat to international security. This is why as a necessary and logical first step towards strengthening global nuclear security we need to ensure the universality and the full implementation of all relevant treaties. All States, irrespective of whether or not in possession of nuclear facilities and/or materials within their territory, have a shared responsibility to uphold nuclear security starting with the legal basis.
Ratifying and implementing effectively all relevant legal instruments requires a collective effort. We stand ready to help partners to do so.
This is why, building on our nuclear security engagement so far, we decided to entrust the UNCCT in New York and UNODC in Vienna with promoting the universalisation and effective implementation of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT). We believe that the Convention is a valuable element of the global nuclear security and anti-terrorism architecture. It obliges States Parties to cooperate in preventing or prosecuting acts of nuclear terrorism by adopting necessary legislative and technical measures to protect nuclear material, installations and devices, and to forestall unauthorized access to them by third parties. It also helps foster international cooperation that includes information sharing and assistance in connection with criminal investigations and extradition proceedings, information exchange related to the protection or the recovery of unlawfully acquired material in response to sabotage or credible threat thereof.
The full implementation of this convention will help deter terrorist acts, reducing the likelihood of safe havens if any such acts were ever committed.
The Convention includes provisions on radioactive sources in particular, which is an important category of materials as they are used for numerous medical, industrial and other purposes outside a nuclear energy programme. In addition, universal adherence to the convention will also facilitate information sharing among law enforcement agencies.
With the Decision by the European Council (Decision (CFSP) 2018/ 1939) of 10 December 2018, we decided to promote the universalisation and effective implementation of ICSANT through a number of measures, including the development and maintenance of a password-protected website on actions carried out to implement the convention, including examples of national legislation; the development of an e-learning module on ICSANT, to be translated into at least four UN official languages; the provision of relevant legislative assistance; capacity building of relevant stakeholders including criminal justice officials that could be involved in investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating cases involving nuclear and other radioactive material covered by ICSANT; holding of global and regional workshops and country visits and by the collection and dissemination of good practices.
Together with our UNCCT and UNODC partners we expect to achieve an increased number of adherents to ICSANT, increased awareness among national policy- and decision-makers, newly introduced or improved national legislation incorporating the ICSANT definitions and requirements, enhanced capacity of national stakeholders, including criminal justice officials to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate cases.
The support for the universalisation of ICSANT will allow building synergies with other relevant international legal instruments, such as the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and UN Security Council Resolution 1540, both of which already, being implemented with EU support.
Today’s launch of this joint project brings us one step closer to this goal and to the global eradication of the risk of nuclear terrorism.