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2013 Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism Plenary Meeting Joint Co-Chair Statement


Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
May 24, 2013

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Partner nations and official observers in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) gathered in Mexico City, Mexico, on May 24, 2013, for the GICNT Plenary Meeting. The GICNT has worked to strengthen global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear terrorism since 2006. The Plenary Meeting in Mexico City is the 8th senior-level meeting of the GICNT. Over the past seven years, the GICNT has grown into a partnership of 85 nations and four official observers dedicated to taking cooperative actions against the shared threat of nuclear terrorism.

The meeting opened with host welcome remarks by Ambassador Arturo Hernandez Basave, Director General for the United Nations of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, Mexican Minister of Energy, gave the keynote address.

The Russian Federation and United States Co-Chairs thanked all GICNT partner nations and official observers for their continued commitment to the initiative and its Statement of Principles and welcomed new partners, Algeria, Azerbaijan, and Malaysia, that joined since the 2011 Plenary. The Co-Chairs also recognized Spain for its trail-blazing term as the first Implementation and Assessment Group (IAG) Coordinator. In this role, Spain has worked tirelessly to make progress on the plans for enhancing the GICNT agenda set forth at the 2010 Plenary Meeting in Abu Dhabi.

On behalf of all participants, the Co-Chairs thanked the Government of Mexico for hosting the 2013 Plenary Meeting and for its strong nonproliferation and counterterrorism record.

Plenary Reviews 2011-2013 Accomplishments

Partner nations briefed participants on key outcomes of GICNT exercises, workshops, and conferences conducted since the 2011 Plenary Meeting. During this time period, partners conducted the following GICNT activities:

  • Australia hosted a public messaging seminar and discussion exercise entitled “i-Hermes.”
  • Canada hosted its “RADEX Seminar on Response to a Radiological Terrorist Attack.”
  • Australia hosted exercise “Iron Koala: Information Sharing During a Nuclear Smuggling Event.”
  • The Russian Federation hosted “Exercise Guardian 2012” on nuclear detection response procedures.
  • The United Kingdom, in partnership with the United States, hosted a second “Symposium on Enhanced Detection of Special Nuclear Material.”
  • Spain and Morocco jointly conducted “Radiological Emergency Management Exercise (REMEX) 2013” to highlight international cooperation practices following a radiological event.

To date, partner nations have completed more than 50 activities aimed at building capacity to prevent, detect, deter, and respond to acts of nuclear terrorism. In addition, The Netherlands provided an update to the Plenary audience on preparations for the upcoming 2014 Nuclear Security Summit.

Implementation and Assessment Group (IAG) Progress

The IAG Coordinator provided a full report on progress since the previous GICNT Plenary meeting in Daejeon, South Korea, in 2011. IAG activities over the past two years included:

  • Mid-year IAG Meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, in February 2012, and Madrid, Spain, in February 2013. Each meeting featured simultaneous technical sessions of the three IAG Working Groups on Nuclear Detection, Nuclear Forensics, and Response and Mitigation. These Working Groups are led by The Netherlands, Australia, and Morocco, respectively. Each Working Group outlined its path forward, with concrete benchmarks, for developing opportunities to engage in practical activities and produce best practices and guidance documents. Numerous partner nation representatives volunteered to host events and serve on document drafting committees, demonstrating their strong commitment to the principles of the GICNT.
  • A joint Working Group activity in Arona and Ispra, Italy, in October 2012 that featured both separate sessions of the Nuclear Forensics and Response and Mitigation Working Groups, and a joint activity designed to highlight best practices for nuclear forensics crime scene investigation.
  • Nuclear Detection Working Group technical review meetings in Zadar, Croatia in 2011, and Lviv, Ukraine in 2012. These sessions provided a forum for detailed partnership review and discussion of draft Nuclear Detection Working Group guidance documents.

The Dutch, Australian, and Moroccan chairs of the IAG Working Groups each provided a briefing noting their specific accomplishments and activities over the past two years, and described their plans for future activities and guidance document production. In addition, Australia provided a briefing on the importance of incorporating joint working group and cross-disciplinary activities into the GICNT plan of work. The Co-Chairs welcomed the working group presentations and encouraged continued partnership efforts in support of GICNT principles.

Endorsement of GICNT Documents

The IAG Coordinator introduced three documents produced in the IAG Working Groups for endorsement by GICNT Partner Nations. Documents included:

  • Nuclear Forensics Fundamentals for Policy Makers and Decision Makers - Raises awareness of the importance of nuclear forensics to enhancing nuclear material security and discouraging illicit uses of nuclear and other radioactive material;
  • Guidelines for Awareness, Training, and Exercises - Highlights best practices in integrating these aspects into a nation’s nuclear detection architecture; and,
  • Guidelines for Planning and Organization - Focuses on issues inherent to successful implementation and enhancement of nuclear detection architectures.

Partner nations adopted these documents by consensus and they are now considered official products of the GICNT.

Endorsement of a New IAG Coordinator

The Co-Chairs introduced the Republic of Korea as the candidate for the next two-year IAG Coordinator term. The Co-Chairs highlighted Korea’s strong nuclear security record and history of involvement in the GICNT, notably as host of the 2011 Plenary Meeting. The GICNT partnership endorsed the Republic of Korea as IAG Coordinator by consensus.

Partner Nations Look Forward to 2015

The new IAG Coordinator presented a strategy for the coming years and emphasized the results of a recent partnership survey that called for an increase in practical, topically- and regionally-focused activities including more GICNT workshops, training events, and exercises. The IAG Coordinator welcomed offers by partner nations to consider hosting or co-hosting GICNT activities in concert with other partners on nuclear security topics that were of the greatest interest to that specific region. In hosting activities, partners were encouraged to keep in mind to global nature of the Initiative and to foster participation and observation by all interested partners.

Over the next two years, GICNT participants will advance the IAG’s plan of work and engage in focused, pragmatic GICNT activities. Partners will also continue the development of GICNT documents in the three identified priority functional areas – nuclear detection, nuclear forensics, and response and mitigation. Participants will accomplish both of these objectives by engaging in workshops, exercises, information sharing, and other forms of collaboration, including the use of the Global Initiative Information Portal, and the hosting of cross-disciplinary activities. The Co-Chairs look forward to working further with the IAG Coordinator and all GICNT participants to deliver tangible documents and results for the next Plenary Meeting in 2015, which Finland has graciously agreed to host.



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