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Press Release: ISS to Host Major Nuclear Weapons Conference
1 March 2012


Noel Stott Senior
Research Fellow
Africa`s Development and the Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction Project
Division: Transnational Threats and International Crime
Institute for Security Studies
Tel: +27 (0) 12 346 9500/2
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ISS to Host Major Nuclear Weapons Conference

Pretoria, South Africa - 1 March 2012 - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Wilton Park, considered one of the world`s leading institutions facilitating in-depth discussion on international policy challenges, will co-host a conference titled, ‘Africa and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime` outside Pretoria, South Africa from 4 to 7 March 2012. Funded by the UK`s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the conference will bring together 40 representatives from African States and regional organisations, as well as African and international experts including members of the IAEA, the African Union and the Preparatory Committee of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO).

In May 2012, the first in a series of three preparatory meetings for the 2015 NPT Review Conference will be held in Vienna. As a lead up to this, and to continue to ensure that African States build on the momentum created by the 2010 Review Conference, this event aims to assess the present and future role of Africa in the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the need for increased technical co-operation and assistance in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the imperative to prevent toxic dumping in Africa, and the need to enhance the role of African States in disarmament and non-proliferation initiatives more generally.

In 2010, African States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) praised the fact that 190 States were able to adopt a final document at its 8th Review Conference held at the UN Headquarters in New York in May. Of the previous seven review conferences, only three have managed to adopt a final consensus document. The 2010 document consists of a 64-step action plan and the Conference President`s interpretation of States Parties` review of each article of the NPT.

The NPT, which entered into force in 1970, and which was extended indefinitely in 1995, is based on three mutually reinforcing pillars: to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament, and to preserve the right of states to the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology. It represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of nuclear disarmament – a vision shared by many Africans of a world without nuclear weapons. The threat of use or actual use of nuclear weapons, either by design or by accident, continues to be one of the most fundamental threats to global human and environmental security.

According to Noel Stott, Senior Research Fellow at the ISS, while Africa is often perceived as marginal to the steps needed for total nuclear weapon disarmament, having declared the continent and its associated islands a nuclear weapon-free zone in 1996, Africa makes up almost a third of all NPT States. He states, “As such, African States have a crucial role in advocating for the need for all to take the necessary steps in achieving the ultimate goal of a world entirely free of nuclear weapons, while allowing for all to enjoy the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”.

While many governments and organs of civil society have expressed the view that the success of the 2010 Review Conference will ultimately be measured by States Parties` commitment to implementing the 64-point action plan, and if, and only if, States fully implement these commitments, the joint Wilton Park/ISS conference will be a unique opportunity to explore how to do this and to develop concrete and measurable actions.

About The Institute for Security Studies:

The Institute for Security of Studies (ISS) is a pan-African organization that undertakes applied policy research, provides teaching and training as well as technical assistance.  The Institute is head quartered in Pretoria, South Africa with offices in Cape Town, South Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Dakar, Senegal. The ISS works for the advancement of sustainable human security in Africa. It seeks to mainstream human security perspectives into public policy processes and to influence decision makers within Africa and beyond. The objective of the Institute is to add critical balance and objectivity by providing timely, empirical research, teaching and implementation support on sustainable human security issues to policy makers, area specialists, advocacy groups, and the media.

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