VIENNA, 27 May - The European Union and the United Nations launched today in Vienna a joint project to prevent acts of nuclear terrorism through the promotion of universalization and effective implementation of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT), following a launch for the New York-based UN community last April.
ICSANT was adopted by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005 and has 115 Parties to date. The universal adherence to this key legal instrument remains an essential goal, as it facilitates international cooperation, including exchange of information on nuclear security threats, as well as prosecution and extradition of suspects.
Mr. John Brandolino, Director, Division for Treaty Affairs at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) stated that "Nuclear terrorism represents one of our greatest global challenges. The good news is that the international community has already developed important tools to fight this threat. ICSANT is one such tool, being a cornerstone among the counter-terrorism conventions."
H.E. Ambassador Didier Lenoir of the Delegation of the European Union to the International Organizations in Vienna, explained that "Building on our nuclear security engagement so far we decided to entrust the UNODC in Vienna and UNCCT in New York with promoting the universalization and effective implementation of the ICSANT. We believe that the Convention is a valuable element of the global nuclear security and anti-terrorism architecture".
"The risk of terrorists gaining access to nuclear and radiological materials is a significant threat to humanity and international peace and security. Unfortunately, we know that the possibility of such materials falling into the hands of terrorists is real," stated Mr. Ulrik Ahnfeldt-Mollerup, Chief of Countering-Terrorism Section of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), at the opening of the launch event.
"[T]he Terrorism Prevention Branch of UNODC is the United Nations' key provider of technical legal assistance on ICSANT" said Mr. Masood Karimipour, Chief of the Terrorism Prevention Branch of UNODC. Mr. Karimipour further invited Member States to consider their participation in the implementation of the project.
The joint project is a testament of the shared commitment of the United Nations and the European Union to address this challenge. It will be jointly implemented by UNODC and UNCCT during the next three years. In 2018, the European Council adopted a decision allocating a total of €5 million to fund the project.
UNODC was established in 1997 and is a global leader in the fight against terrorism, crime and illicit drugs. UNODC operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices. UNODC has been providing technical assistance to requesting Member States on ICSANT, including on national legislation and capacity building, since its adoption in 2005.
The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), was established in June 2017 to provide leadership on the implementation of General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates, to enhance coordination and coherence through the Global Counter-Terrorism Compact, and to strengthen the delivery of the United Nations counter-terrorism capacity building assistance to Member States, through the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT).
For further information, please contact:
Matthias Klettermayer, UNODC Advocacy Section