On 10 February 2020, the IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi opened the Third International Conference on Nuclear Security: Sustaining and Strengthening Efforts (ICONS 2020). It assembled at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna over 57 ministers and more than 2000 experts from over 130 countries and 35 international organizations, including ISTC as an observer. Participants took stock of the efforts to ensure the security of nuclear material and technology. In the Ministerial Declaration, elaborated under the guidance of the ICONS 2020 co-chairs Romania and Panama, the IAEA Member States reaffirmed their common commitment for strengthening nuclear security globally.
‘Transportation is an activity where nuclear safety and security interface and complement each other’, stated ISTC Executive Director David Cleave in his opening remarks to the Roundtable Regional Cooperation on Security, Safety and Safeguards in Africa, convened by ISTC and the Vienna Center on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, ’A lot of transporting of ‘yellow cake’ and other radioactive materials takes place in Southern Africa. Secure transport at every step is essential to ensure society can continue to benefit from these materials, while at the same time they are not used for criminal or malicious purposes.’
At the Roundtable that attracted the interest of more than 60 diplomats, researchers and experts, the strong linkage and interface of nuclear safety and security found an excellent illustration by the impact of two EU-funded projects in progress, implemented in Africa by ISTC, namely: Project MC 5.01 15B Support to the Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards and Project 60 Support to the CBRN Center of Excellence in Eastern and Central Africa in Nuclear Security. Both projects stem from an African-led analytical assessment and enjoy substantial support from the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and their African Member States. During the event representatives of the national nuclear and radiation protection authorities of Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Kenya provided their national perspectives on the potential of regional cooperation in securing improvement of the current legal regimes, institutional settings and capacity to shoulder international safeguards obligations by the countries of the region of Southern Africa.
ISTC convened also a tripartite working meeting with IAEA and AFCONE with the participation of Prof. Dr. Shaukat Abdulrazak, Director, Division for Africa, Technical Cooperation Department, and Dr Messaoud Baaliouamer, Executive Secretary, AFCONE. On the agenda were questions such as: discussion on the joint implementation with the IAEA of a proposed ISTC-AFCONE training course with the participation of SADC member states, and a module on transportation, as well as exchange of information on the Information Tracking System developed under the SADC Project MC 5.01 15B and its compatibility with RAIS and other relevant IAEA data basis. ISTC expressed appreciation for the extensive and holistic work done by the IAEA on safe transportation and suggested that possible complementary activities could jointly be undertaken with IAEA with the aim of multiplying and reinforcing the positive effect and the benefits for the African partners.