I want to thank the organizers of this International Meeting on Chemical Safety and Security, and epecially Mayor Schigawa and my colleague Krzystof Paturej, whose vision it was to bring us all together for this international conference and to establish a center of excellence in chemical security. I remember when I met Krzysztof two years ago and one of the first things we discussed was the issue of chemical security. Soon aftewards, he was mentioning to me the idea for having a Center of Excellence in Tarnow, Poland. I am happy to have been a part of this process and I am happy to visit Tarnow once again. I am also looking foward to visiting the salt mine. It is one of my favorites sites to see here in Poland.
My first visit to Tarnow was last year in October and at that time, I spoke at the Seminar on the Development of the International Center for Chemcal Safety and Security. Last year the discussion was focused on some very early thinking about the establishment of such a Center of Excellene in Tarnow, and in my presentation, I listed ten considerations for future engagement in the area of chemcial safety and security. Those considerations still apply as we have come even closer to the establishment of a center and further in the discussions of chemical safety and security.
Today states are more aware of what chemical safety and security is and why it is importnat to be more aware of the role this issue plays nationally and in the larger global security infrastructure. Today, as I look around at all the participants and speakers here, I see how far these discussions have come and I want to congratulate the organizers for sticking with their vision of promoting the international focus on this issue. We have many, many more states and NGOs present here than were present last year. Krzysztof reminded me yesterday that at the conference here last year, there were four states represented: Poland, Kenya, Ukraine and the United States. This year, we have 57. Such a large number of states and others here today highlights the fact that the important issue of chemcial safety and security is being shared and understood by a wider number of stakeholers.
Last year, I highlighted how the security landscape in the past 20 years has changed regarding nonproliferation activities, including in the area of nuclear , biological and chemical security. As many of you know, in the United States, we began to fund activities and programs in the early 1990’s in Russia and the Former Soviet Union. At that time, the U.S. was focusing on preventing the spread of Soviet-era weapons of mass destruction, their associated material, and WMD know-how and expertise through various efforts. However, now, the U.S. and other internation partners are increasingly focusing on other regions of the world to engage them as partners in the effort to prevent WMD proliferation and terrorism.
Those engaged in funding and supporting programs in the areaa of WMD nonproliferation have come to realize that what was a more targeted and defined threat in the early 1990’s has become more diversified with an increased number of criminal organizations, terrorist networks, and extremists on the international scene. These non-state actors are present in many regions of the world and are able to easily move across borders. Activities and programs must focus on preventing proliferation not only to states but to non-state actors globally.
Chemical safety and security programs are part of this larger effort to prevent WMD proliferation and terrorism. These programs are geared to preventing access to chemical weapons, their precursors, and dual-use infrastructure and expertise. These programs that promote chemical safety and security must be international in scope. This is because WMD materials, pathogens and precursors, that are not secure can be a risk to the international community if those non-state actors with intent to do harm obtain them.
Activities and programs that seek to reduce the global threat of chemical terrorism by preventing access to weapons, their precursors, and dual-use infrastructure and expertise should be strengthened. In this respect, it is time for nations and multilateral organizations that can take a lead in promoting activities and programs in chemical safety and security to begin to develop strategies for engagement in this area. The Tarnow Center of Excellence is one such place to promote this work and to help develop an overall strategy that other nations, organizations and NGOs can work with to promote both safety and security, and a culture of security. The establishment of a Center is not only a positive way to move forward, but also follows the current international trend to establish centers where training focuses on specific areas of security.
Other multilateral mechanisms are also focusing on chemical security, and these mechanisms should work together in the area of chemical safety and security.
One such mechanism is the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, or the GP. The GP, which is in fact a 24 member nation multilateral initiative, focuses on funding activities and programs to prevent WMD terrorism. Its major focus the first ten years of its existence was predominately on destroying Russian nuclear submarines and Russian chemical weapons. To date the GP partners have spent over $21 billion dollars on these two efforts in addition to other areas of work in Ukraine and the Former Soviet Union in the destruction of nuclear weapons and delivery systems and scientist engagement, among other things. The GP, originally established in 2002, was to conclude its activities this year. However, the leaders agreed last year to extend the mandate beyond 2012. They also agreed that the partnership should fund more types of programs beyond the destruction of nuclear submarines and chemical weapons in Russia and no longer focus solely on that region. The leaders agreed that the GP should also focus activities and programs in other regions of the world, and it should fund programs in bio-security, nuclear and radiological security, and implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540.
Just two weeks ago, the GP, currently under the U.S. chairmanship for 2012, established a Chemical Security Sub-Working Group. This sub-working group will provide an opportunity for the 24 nations to discuss ways in which they can fund and support chemical safety and security in many parts of the world. The group will have representatives from relevant international organizations, including the OPCW, attend those meetings. The sub-working group will meet for the first time early next year under the United Kingdom chairmanship of the GP. I believe that the discussion that will take place here in Tarnow these two days will provide very useful information for that sub-working group as it develops its work plan for the future. This sub-working group is to be chaired by Poland and Ukraine.
In many ways, chemical security is a new area of funding for many nations. While the U.S. has funded threat reduction activities since the early 1990’s, many GP nations who are funding programs to combat WMD terrorism began to do so only once the Global Partnership was formed. What is really needed is more attention devoted to this area internationally and an increase in awareness of why chemical security, like nuclear and bio-security, are areas where programming should begin for some nations and increase in others.
Another such international mechanism to promote chemical safety and security is UNSCR 1540. As you know, UNSCR 1540 establishes a binding obligation on all UN member states under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to take and enforce effective measures against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery and related materials. The United Nations Organization for Disarmament Affairs, or UNODA, does an excellent job of hosting regional meetings to help ensure that states understand not only the obligations of 1540, but that they also understand that states should request assistance in fulfilling those requirements. Including chemical security in these outreach efforts helps to bring the issue of chemical safety and security to the international community and helps ensure that no state or nonstate actor is a source or beneficiary of WMD proliferation. The GP, the Tarnow Center and other efforts by international organizations you will hear from today can multiply the effectiveness of their programs in chemical safety and security by coordinating with the UNSCR 1540 Committee and UNODA.
The Tarnow Center will also need to continue to work with other existing or developing COEs in various regions of the world. It is not only to prevent duplication, but it is also to share lessons learned. The COEs should find ways to work together to compare strategies for implementation and the types of programs engaged. This will need to be done on a continuous basis as the programs develop and COEs determine what programs and in which regions they would like to focus.
As I noted last year, as we begin to implement chemical safety and security programs, we should work with NGOs, think tanks and academic institutions supporting or funding programs on chemical safety and security. And we cannot forget to engage the chemical industry, which has a lot of experience in the area of chemical safety and security and can provide important lessons learned.
One final point I want to note again is the importance of the development of a global security culture in the area of chemical security. Developing an appreciation of chemical security helps ensure the sustainability of any program. We should aim to engage partners in a way that they will want to engage others in this area, and by doing so, this will multiply the effect of the goals we seek. Having someone from one’s own country promoting chemical security has a strong impact. Promoting the development of professional organizations also helps to ensure the message of chemical safety and security is passed on to the next generation of scientists.
In conclusion, I hope that in the next two days we can learn from each other and see how we can work together to promote chemical safety and security on a global scale. In addition to efforts that can be accomplished through the OPCW, there are many ways in which we can promote chemical safety and security, and some I have highlighted. There is always the usual concern about duplication of programs among different organizations and initiatives, however good coordination can help prevent that potential problem. What is needed now is to determine which countries and regions should be a focus of efforts in chemical safety and security and what are the appropriate programs to implement chemical safety and security? How can states work together to promote chemical safety and security? How do we incorporate work done by NGOs into this effort? How do we incorporate the activities of international and regional organizations? What is the role of think tanks and academic institutions? How do we incorporate the ongoing work in other relevant centers of excellence and training centers? How do we ensure all these entities work together and how do we promote and maintain information exchange? How do we determine priorities of action? These are questions that I hope we can address in the next two days and in the work we do following our time here in Tarnow. Thank you