The risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear or other radioactive material is a major threat to international peace and security.
It is imperative that the UN and the international community work together to present a unified front and ensure a coordinated response to the threat of nuclear terrorism.
On 16 July 2020, the Chief of UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch, Mr. Masood Karimipour, virtually briefed the Council of the European Union's Working Party on Non-Proliferation (CONOP) on the progress made by UNODC on the implementation of Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1939 of 10 December 2018 on Union Support for the Universalization and Effective Implementation of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT).
Adopted in 2005 by the United Nations General Assembly, ICSANT provides the basis for the harmonization of criminalization provisions across jurisdictions, thus enhancing the framework for, and facilitating, international cooperation against acts of terrorism involving nuclear or other radioactive material.
Since ICSANT’s adoption, UNODC has worked with Member States on the universalization and effective implementation of ICSANT. UNODC’s work has been crucial not only in increasing the number of States Party to ICSANT, but also in assisting requesting States to incorporate their provisions into national legislation. Currently, UNODC is promoting ICSANT under Council Decision 2018/1939 as well as a project on strengthening legal frameworks for nuclear security which is funded by the Government of Canada. Both initiatives are complementary and synergistic.
The EU project, jointly implemented by the United Nations Counter Terrorism Center (UNCCT) and by UNODC, does the following:
Mr. Karimipour informed CONOP that despite the COVID-19-imposed restrictions, UNODC ensured that steady progress continues to be made and that the objectives of the project are met, noting that “we have turned pandemic-induced challenges into opportunities for innovative and sustainable assistance to our Member States”. Mr. Karimipour also added that “Council Decision 2018/1939, with the combination of direct outreach - including online events, legislative review and development of training tools, provides an excellent framework for delivery of assistance also in these challenging times.”
Under the project thus far, UNODC has: conducted a national visit to Uganda and has delivered seven webinars on different aspects of ICSANT; is reviewing the national legislation a requesting Member State vis-à-vis ICSANT; held consultations with several Member States on outreach and assistance; developed promotional material and is finalizing an e-Learning module on ICSANT, an ICSANT-dedicated website and a training manual on the Convention. The ICSANT dedicated email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) is active and is used to respond to requests and questions provided by Member States. Over the next few months, UNODC is planning a series of virtual events, including a regional awareness raising webinar for African States not party to ICSANT.
Mr. Karimipour concluded his intervention by thanking CONOP, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) for their support to UNODC in working towards the shared objective of the universalization and effective implementation of ICSANT.
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