UNODC Supports English-Speaking African Countries to Address the Risks of Nuclear Terrorism

The COVID-19 pandemic and appropriate responses to it has been consuming the attention of UN Member States. However, the risk of nuclear terrorism remains imminent and potentially more devastating. Efforts to prevent and counter the risk of nuclear terrorism continue to be at the forefront of UNODC’s mission, primarily through the work of its chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism prevention programme.

Adopted in 2005 by the United Nations General Assembly, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (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.

On 11 November, as part of its broader outreach to promote the convention, UNODC delivered an online workshop for English-speaking African countries which are not yet party to ICSANT. The workshop brought together government officials from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gambia, Liberia, Mauritius, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe in order to promote the universalization and effective implementation of ICSANT. 

The online workshop was part of a larger project on the promotion, universalization and effective implementation of ICSANT, funded by the European Union. The project was adopted by the European Union under 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).

The workshop was opened by Mr. Masood Karimipour, Chief of UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) and His Excellency Mr. Stephan Klement, Permanent Representative of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations in Vienna. 

Mr. Joaquin Zuckerberg, Programme Officer at TPB, presented on ICSANT, specifically the criminalization provisions and scope of the convention. He reiterated the need to universalize the domestic implementation of ICSANT to ensure that there is no safe haven for anyone involved in nuclear terrorism. Mr. Zuckerberg also explained UNODC’s mandate and its continued work on the prevention of nuclear terrorism, including available tools and publications.

Ms. Ruth Aurélie Josepha Kouankam Epse Schlick, Magistrate at the Department of Legislation at the Ministry of Justice of Cameroon, presented the legal frameworks relevant to the adherence to an international convention and the steps needed to become party to it. She also recalled the difficulties and challenges Cameroon has encountered in its attempt to adhere to ICSANT. 

Mr. John Dahua Adamu, Chief Legal Officer and Head of Legal Unit at the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, highlighted his country’s experience in implementing national legislation for ICSANT. Mr. Adamu focused on the challenges and lessons learned from Nigeria’s experience, particularly the need for international collaboration to ensure an effective nuclear security regime. 

For more information on ICSANT, please write to