The International Atomic Energy Agency's International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts, which was held from 1 to 5 July 2013, addressed international nuclear security efforts by reviewing past achievements, current approaches and identifying future trends.
With more than 1 300 registered participants, including some 34 Government Ministers and other Heads of Delegation from 125 States, as well as 21 governmental and non-governmental Organizations, the Conference provided a forum for Ministers, policymakers and senior officials to formulate views on future directions and priorities to strengthen nuclear security.
The Conference opened with a ministerial session, chaired by the President of the Conference, János Martonyi, the Foreign Minister of Hungary. The session endorsed a Ministerial Declaration, and a President's Summary of the week's proceedings was issued at the end of the Conference.
In his closing statement to the Conference, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said: "This Conference has been an important milestone for nuclear security. The Ministerial Statement, from an inclusive global forum, sends a strong message that nuclear security is recognized as a priority by Governments.
"That political commitment is crucial to all of us in developing the policies, strategies and systems to strengthen nuclear security, nationally, regionally and globally. The participation of representatives from 125 States, and 21 intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, sends a very strong message that nuclear security is recognized as a worldwide priority in response to a global threat."
The full text of his remarks is available here.
The overall themes for the Conference were the past, present and future of nuclear security worldwide. These themes were discussed at a high level during the main sessions of the Conference, and in more detail in separate, parallel technical sessions.
The results of the Ministerial Conference will also serve as important input in the preparation of the IAEA's next Nuclear Security Plan, for 2014-2017. The IAEA's first comprehensive Action Plan to Protect Against Nuclear Terrorism was approved in March 2002 by its Board of Governors and General Conference, and two further Nuclear Security Plans were approved in 2005 and 2009 respectively.
Under the 2010-2013 Nuclear Security Plan, the IAEA contributes to efforts to achieve worldwide, effective security wherever nuclear or other radioactive material is in use, in storage, and/or in transport, as well as the security of the associated facilities and activities. The IAEA supports States, upon their request, by providing assistance in capacity building, guidance, peer reviews and advisory services, human resource development, sustainability and risk reduction. The objective of the IAEA's support is also to assist States to implement and adhere to nuclear security-related international legal instruments; and to strengthen the international cooperation and coordination of assistance given through bilateral programmes and other international initiatives.
There is a continuing risk that nuclear or other radioactive material could be used in malicious acts. This risk is regarded as a serious threat to international peace and security. The responsibility for nuclear security rests entirely with each State and that appropriate and effective national systems for nuclear security are vital in facilitating the peaceful use of nuclear energy and enhancing efforts to strengthen nuclear security worldwide.
The IAEA has been active in the nuclear security field for several decades. Its Office of Nuclear Security maintains an authoritative global database, which records incidents and trafficking in nuclear and radioactive materials. Upon request, the Office of Nuclear Security also provides, inter alia, peer reviews and advisory services.
Through its support, the IAEA helps States to prevent nuclear and other radioactive materials from being stolen and used maliciously, to secure borders against smuggling of radioactive materials, and to prepare for major public events that could be a target for criminal groups.