• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

Collaboration on Nuclear Security Knows No Borders


IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi at a high-level panel discussion during a special event hosted on the first day of ICONS2024. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

International security and governance experts have agreed on the importance of closer international collaboration in the field of nuclear security, at a high-level event on the sidelines of the ongoing ICONS conference. 

“Nuclear security was always important, and it is getting even more important as we witness diverse uses of nuclear technology and radioactive material, as an answer to pressing issues of our times, as energy security,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, adding that, “ICONS 2024 is putting the spotlight on this issue.” 

“New technologies bring enormous opportunities, and they also create risks.  International cooperation is required to manage new technologies so that they do not exacerbate nuclear security challenges,” said his fellow panelist Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security Affairs, United States of America. Highlighting the imperative to focus on nuclear security in the international dialogue on technological advancement, she added: “We have not always managed to effectively translate the highly technical information about nuclear security into words that real people can understand.  We need to do a better job in telling the story that it is essential to remain vigilant about nuclear security matters, especially given the evolving threat landscape and technology innovation.”  She emphasized that international organizations such as the IAEA are critical to this global effort, noting that “international organizations are as strong as we make them, we have to invest human and financial resources in supporting them.”  

Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL Secretary General, also spoke at the event, and described the evolving threat landscape from organized crime to the financing of terrorism and the use of new technologies for criminal activities. “The threats are more international than ever, and no country or region can face them alone. Organized crime and terrorist groups carefully monitor and seek to exploit gaps in international cooperation,” he said, calling for strong partnerships and enhanced information sharing to address this complex situation. 

Held every four years, ICONS is a major event for the global nuclear security community, which brings together ministers, policymakers, and technical and legal experts. Topics at this years’ conference covered a broad range of nuclear security themes, such as policy, law and regulations; technology and infrastructure; capacity building, and other cross-cutting nuclear security topics. 

At the event held at Liechtenstein Garden Palace, Director General Grossi was joined on the panel by Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Jürgen Stock and Tulia Ackson, President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania. All agreed that the future of global nuclear security depends on more collaborative schemes at national, regional and international level.   

Tulia Ackson underscored the role of parliaments in the ratification and implementation of international instruments like the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its Amendment (A/CPPNM). “So far, we have not been engaged so much in the discussion about nuclear security, probably because the topic is considered too technical for parliamentarians,” adding that IPU can contribute to raising awareness about the importance of the international instruments in the area of nuclear security.  

“As people and decision makers rediscover the value of nuclear energy, the IAEA is looking for partners to support global programmes addressing the current threats. We all have a role to play in ensuring safe and secure use of nuclear technology,” said Mr Grossi, concluding the panel discussion.  

The conference plenary panels are being livestreamed through the IAEA website. You can follow the IAEA and #ICONS2024 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for updates throughout the week. 

Stay in touch