On 28 September 2023, Zimbabwe deposited an instrument of accession to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) with the United Nations Secretary-General and will become the 122nd State party to the Convention on 28 October. UNODC was honoured to accompany a representative of the Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe on this occasion.
With the ever-increasing use of nuclear and other radioactive material around the globe, the importance of ICSANT as an essential instrument in preventing nuclear terrorism and improving global nuclear security is growing too.
Joining an international convention is usually a long journey that requires the time and dedication of all relevant stakeholders at the national level. The CBRN Terrorism Prevention Programme of UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch was delighted to accompany Zimbabwe through the complexities of this undertaking. The fruitful cooperation started in 2018 when Zimbabwe took part in UNODC’s Global Workshop on the Universalization of ICSANT, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment, funded by Canada. Since then, senior representatives of the country’s Radiation Protection Authority, President’s Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and Ministry of Defence and Parliamentarians actively participated in events organised by UNODC with the support of Canada and the European Union.
UNODC conducted a national visit on ICSANT to Zimbabwe earlier this year and discussed with national stakeholders technical and legislative assistance services that are available in connection with both the universalization and effective implementation of ICSANT. Numerous participants from Zimbabwe also successfully completed UNODC’s eLearning module on the international legal framework against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism.
Yet, the international assistance to Zimbabwe has not been a solitary endeavour of UNODC. In recent years, the International Atomic Energy Agency and Parliamentarians for Global Action held several regional outreach events on nuclear security, where Zimbabwe participated, which were very important for consideration of adherence to ICSANT by the country. At these events, UNODC also took the opportunity to further engage with the country on this Convention.
ICSANT is not an exclusive club and will be most effective once every single State joins it and thus contributes to a truly worldwide protection against criminal acts involving radioactive material, with no safe havens for their perpetrators.
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