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Nuclear Verification in Africa

An Upcoming IAEA Seminar for African Countries Focuses on Key Role of Safeguards

signing

Nigeria is among the latest countries in Africa to conclude an additional protocol to its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. (Photo: D.Calma/IAEA)

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The IAEA is inviting all African States to participate in an upcoming regional seminar on the role of international safeguards for verifying the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.

Scheduled 24-27 June in Johannesburg, the seminar is organized in cooperation with South Africa and with the support of the United Nations Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa. Financial support for the participation of African countries is being provided by Japan.

In advance, the IAEA has issued a briefing note that presents an overview of IAEA's evolving safeguards system and the status of safeguards agreements in Africa. The seminar aims to deepen understanding about safeguards in the context of peaceful nuclear co-operation, security, and non-proliferation, and to facilitate the conclusion of safeguards agreements with the IAEA. The preliminary agenda features eleven sessions, including a concluding panel discussion on the future role of safeguards in promoting security and non-proliferation in Africa.

Effective and comprehensive safeguards are crucial components of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and provide an essential foundation for peaceful nuclear cooperation. States are now also encouraged to bring into force additional protocols to safeguards agreements, which are designed to strengthen the Agency's safeguards system. Most IAEA safeguards agreements are concluded pursuant to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The Treaty obligates States to conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA covering all their nuclear material and activities. The Agency's safeguards system is also foreseen as the means of verifying compliance with regional Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) Treaties, including the African NFWZ Treaty, known as the Pelindaba Treaty.

All African States are NPT Parties and 50 of them have signed the Pelindaba Treaty. Most of them benefit from using peaceful nuclear applications to address development problems in agriculture, health, water resources and other fields. However, 31 countries in Africa have not yet concluded the required NPT safeguards agreement with the IAEA.