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Remarks at the Event Marking Entry Into Force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material

Vienna, Austria

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at event to mark the entry into force of the CPPNM Amendment. (Photo: K. Nikolic/IAEA)

(As prepared for delivery)

Good morning, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

This is an important occasion. It has taken us nearly 11 years to get here, but the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material will finally enter into force on Sunday.

The Amendment makes it legally binding for countries to protect nuclear facilities, as well as nuclear material in domestic use, storage and transport.

Entry into force will help reduce the risk of a terrorist attack involving nuclear material, which could have catastrophic consequences.

The Agency has worked hard, in particular in the last few years, to encourage countries to adhere to the Amendment.

I am especially grateful to Peri and Khammar and their teams for their tireless efforts. I myself have used every opportunity to raise the Amendment in my meetings with government leaders.

I am also grateful to the many Ambassadors and Member State representatives who encouraged their national authorities to expedite the ratification process.

Our collective efforts have now paid off. The world will be a safer place as a result.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The IAEA’s activities in the nuclear security field have grown significantly since the Amendment was adopted in 2005.

Back then, some countries questioned whether the IAEA even had a mandate to work on nuclear security. Now, this is not in dispute.

Today, nuclear safety and security are one of the two priority areas in the IAEA budget. Our regular budget for nuclear security has increased, although it is still not sufficient.

With 168 Member States and considerable technical expertise, the IAEA has played the leading role as the global platform for strengthening nuclear security.

We have delivered concrete results, including training police and border guards, supplying instruments for detecting nuclear material, and helping States to improve their nuclear security frameworks.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Under the Amendment, countries are required to establish appropriate physical protection regimes for nuclear material. They also take on new obligations to share information on sabotage, and credible threats of sabotage.  

The entry into force of the Amendment demonstrates the determination of the international community to act together to strengthen nuclear security globally.

However, there are still a large number of countries which are not parties to the Amendment. So I continue to urge all States to adhere to this important legal instrument.

Universal implementation of the amended Convention will help to ensure that nuclear material throughout the world is properly protected against malicious acts by terrorists.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The IAEA’s responsibilities in nuclear security will grow in the coming years. We need sustained political and financial support from our Member States.

I therefore request all Member States of the IAEA to be represented at ministerial level at the International Conference on Nuclear Security, which we will hold in December.

Before this important conference, a meeting of representatives of States party to the Amendment and the CPPNM will be held to consider the new requirements on information sharing.

As Depositary, I am required under the Amendment to convene a conference of the Parties within five years of entry into force to review implementation of the amended Convention.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Working closely with national experts and key international partners, the Agency will continue to deliver tangible improvements in nuclear security in the years ahead.

Thank you.


Last update: 25 Nov 2019

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