On 18 September 2012, the Kingdom of Lesotho deposited an instrument of acceptance of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM).
The instrument was received on behalf of the IAEA by Ms. Peri Lynne Johnson, Legal Adviser of the IAEA and Director of the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs, during the IAEA Treaty Event held in the margins of the 56th IAEA General Conference.
Ms. Mathapelo Kanono, Principal Legal Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations called the action as an important step forward for her country.
Ms. Johnson recalled that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, during his statement to the General Conference, had highlighted that: "Despite the enhanced global interest in nuclear security, there is still one important item of unfinished business: ratification of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. The Amendment was agreed in 2005 but it has still not entered into force. Entry into force of the Amendment would make an important difference to global nuclear security."
The Amendment to the CPPNM was adopted on 8 July 2005. Whereas the obligations for physical protection under the CPPNM cover nuclear material during international transport, the Amendment to the CPPNM makes it legally binding for States Parties to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport. It also provides for expanded cooperation between and among States regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent and combat related offences.
The Amendment will enter into force when two-thirds of the States Parties to the Convention have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval. To-date the Convention has 145 States Parties, the required two-thirds would presently therefore be a total of 97 States Parties. Lesotho, in becoming the fifty-eighth State Party to deposit such an instrument, means that as of to-date, the Amendment needs a further 39 States to enter into force.
The IAEA Treaty Event was organized by the Office of Legal Affairs on 17 and 18 September 2012. Similar to the first Treaty Event organised in 2011, it was designed to promote universal adherence to the multilateral treaties adopted under IAEA auspices related to nuclear safety, security and civil liability for nuclear damage.
An overview of the treaties featured at the Treaty Event is available here.