Conclusion of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism’s New Delhi Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting

New Delhi, India, 8-10 February 2017

Hosted by the Government of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, in coordination with the Indian Department of Atomic Energy, 152 technical experts and policy representatives from 41 partner nations of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and 4 of its official observer international organizations gathered in New Delhi, India, 8-10 February, 2017, for the GICNT Implementation and Assessment Group (IAG) meeting.

The IAG meeting underscored the GICNT’s unique ability to bring together policy, technical, and operational experts to enhance partners’ capabilities to address complex and emerging nuclear security challenges. India’s commitment to global nuclear nonproliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy were noted in welcoming remarks by India’s Foreign Secretary, Dr. S. Jaishankar, who cited the GICNT as an important part of India’s overall engagement with the international community on nuclear security issues and praised the Initiative’s collaborative approach to building and strengthening a global network of experts.

In their opening remarks, the GICNT Co-Chairs, the Russian Federation and the United States, expressed appreciation to the numerous partner nations who hosted GICNT events in the past year.  The Kingdom of the Netherlands, as the IAG Coordinator, chaired the meeting.  Representatives of partner nations that hosted GICNT activities were also invited to present outcomes of those activities conducted since the last IAG Meeting, including:  the GICNT 10th Anniversary Meeting in The Hague, The Netherlands, in June 2016; the GICNT Exercise Olympus hosted by the Government of Romania as a joint activity with INTERPOL in Bucharest, Romania, in October 2016; “Medical Response Workshop: Nuclear Terrorism, Global Challenges”  hosted by the Government of Panama in Panama City, Panama in November 2016; and the “Vigilant Marmot” Legal Frameworks Workshop jointly organized with the Government of Canada, the Republic of Slovakia, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, held in Bratislava, Slovakia in January 2017.

GICNT partner country representatives to the IAG meeting participated in technical discussions that addressed important nuclear security themes. During a review of recent GICNT activities to support ratification of international treaties that are important to nuclear security, such as the International Convention on Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) and the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and its 2005 Amendment, discussion focused on challenges encountered in adopting and implementing national legislation criminalizing terrorist activities involving radioactive or nuclear materials.  A discussion of radioactive source security highlighted the need to raise awareness of challenges in this area, and the opportunity to work across governments, agencies, and users of high activity radioactive sources.  In a discussion of sustainability, participants focused on challenges and best practices for strengthening institutional knowledge and building sustainability into a national-level framework for nuclear security.  These discussions provided an opportunity for participants to shape future efforts under the GICNT to address these challenges.

The three GICNT technical working groups met in parallel sessions to review accomplishments from 2015-2017 and examine and prioritize working group objectives for 2017-2019.  The GICNT Nuclear Detection Working Group is chaired by the Government of Finland, the Nuclear Forensics Working Group is chaired by Australia, and the Response and Mitigation Working Group is chaired by the Kingdom of Morocco.  Each working group seeks to use multilateral workshops and exercises as tools to test and improve national and international capabilities, strengthen and unify a community of nuclear security specialists, increase coordination and interoperability among agencies, equipment, and information, and address sustainability challenges.

In their concluding remarks, the Co-Chairs expressed their appreciation to the Government of India for hosting the meeting. They also expressed their support for the continued efforts of GICNT partners to provide opportunities for dialogue and collaboration towards global efforts to combat nuclear terrorism.  The GICNT will hold its 10th Plenary meeting in Tokyo, Japan, on June 1-2, 2017.