P 60 Steering Committee Discusses Results, Charts Ways ahead in the New Stage of the Project
Convened at an on-line meeting on 28 May 2020, members of the Steering Committee of Project 60 assessed the main results that they achieved together in support to the nuclear security in the region of Eastern and Central Africa during the first stage of the project from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2019. ISTC P 60 Project Manager Kamen Velichkov and ENCO P-60 Team Leader Nicolas Delaunay presented the key achievements and highlighted expected activities, events and partnerships that will constitute the core of the project’s second phase.
The Project implementation is on track, the main specific objectives are successfully pursued and in many aspects already achieved, including a peak of 20 training activities in 2019, comprising integrated nuclear security train-the-trainer type courses in English and French language, table top and field exercises on cross border investigations and prevention of illicit trafficking. Participation of the African partner countries was spread on an equitable basis. In terms of gender balance of the alumni of the education, women constitute about one fifth of the trainees. The increase of the overall knowledge and skills by participants amounted to approximately 20 per cent, from 40.7 per cent at entry to 61,4 at exit tests. On matters of nuclear security trainees almost doubled their knowledge. Eleven lists of assessed equipment needs are ready to substantiate an advocacy effort in favour of equipment delivery by potential donors. The documents contain concise information about the nuclear security architecture, legislation and international commitments of the country in focus. Project 60 had positive contribution to the participating states’ reporting under the UNSCR 1540. Zambia and Burundi submitted reports in the span of the Project’s duration. Zambia’s report referred to the Project’s input to human capacity building.
While the work on the inventory, accountancy and control of RN material is accomplished, there remain some SOPs to be received by participating countries. Three countries requested and received support on the use of the RAIS electronic system for registration. Help was accorded to the preparation of Action plans for the update and maintenance of the registries of sources. Four countries submitted their RADPLANs for emergency situations and received recommendations. Following a successful regional workshop on RN emergency response plans (in Kenya), outlines for RN emergency response plans were distributed to participating countries. Visits to the storage facilities took place in six countries (where such facilities exist) and recommendations were provided.
The representatives of the Project 60 participating countries highlighted the support their received, the partnership they forged, the ongoing efforts they commit and the expectations from the next stage of the project in bringing even more added value to their national nuclear security policies and practices.
In his remarks ISTC ED David Cleave noted the SC must refocus and rearrange the project’s roadmap for the next year and a half. The monitoring and control over cross border movements of nuclear and other radioactive material is at the core of the second phase. As this is a regional concern, there will be a greater need of bilateral, multilateral and even regional agreements to bring that effort to a successful outcome. Three types of partnerships with stakeholders are key for the second phase: (1) among the immediate national actors with a stake in nuclear (and CBRN) security provision on a national scale, and specifically with responsibilities at border entry points; (2) among the countries of the ECA region themselves for the sake of the furtherance of enhanced regional cooperation; (3) among African partners and external actors that may bring about increased technological capacity, provision of better and more modern equipment, and international acknowledgement of the fact that the ECA countries live up to their international commitments.
Project 60’s side event to the IAEA 63rd General Conference entitled “EU Contribution to International Security Regime – Advances in Nuclear Security in CoE Region East and Central Africa (ECA)” took place in September 2019 in Vienna. It was a magnificent illustration of public advocacy. It would be appropriate to seek a repetition of such successful event at IAEA GC64, whenever it will be re-scheduled.
Harro Wittermans, the new CBRN ECA Regional Coordinator, asserted that the project illustrates all the dynamics of what the participants are aiming at together. Silvia Bottone, EC DEVCO P 60 project manager, noted that the discussions during the SC meetings were enriching and encouraging. The partner countries are seeking more technical support and ISTC and ENCO are ready to provide it.