Nuclear security will once again take centre stage in July 2013 when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) hosts a conference on enhancing global efforts to achieve effective security of nuclear and other radioactive materials. Although the IAEA has been supporting states to improve their national nuclear security measures since the 1970s, this conference represents a unique opportunity for the agency to reinforce its leading role in this field, as well as for various stakeholders to provide direct input into the IAEA's Nuclear Security Plan for 2014-2017.
As the nuclear security summit process winds down, with the third and (probably) final summit due to take place in the Netherlands in 2014, the international community is looking for a mechanism that can drive the nuclear security agenda forward in a more inclusive way. This is especially important for African states, which, thus far, have had limited opportunity to engage in global debates on nuclear security, but which certainly have the potential to play a much bigger role in future.
This policy brief argues that the momentum generated by the nuclear security summit process is merely a starting point for improving nuclear security, and contends that international bodies, such as the IAEA, together with governmental and non-governmental experts, must now take this process forward. Recent developments in African states in the field of nuclear security are also discussed as examples of the important role that non-nuclear weapon states continue to play in enhancing global nuclear security, despite facing immense socio-economic and developmental challenges.
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About the authors:
Amelia Broodryk is a researcher with the Institute for Security Studies' Transnational Threats and International Crime Division. Her current work focuses on Africa's development and the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Amelia has a Masters degree in International Studies from the University of Pretoria.
Shaun Edge currently works in the political section of an embassy in Pretoria. He completed his Masters in Security Studies (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria in 2010.