The objective of the organisers was to engage the regulatory authorities concerned, possibly on a regional basis, to provide support and promote adoption of the best international practices. As such, the seminar offered an opportunity for southern African states to present their national situation and to share their experiences with relevant international organisations that are active in the field. The organisers expected the exchange to, among other things, provide the background to develop regional support programmes that will address expressed needs or gaps at the national, regional or continental levels.
The main aims of the seminar were to:
- Enhance greater awareness of the importance of nuclear safety, the development of a nuclear security culture, non-proliferation and relevant control and regulatory regimes.
- Provide insight into the support programmes offered by the main international actors in the field.
- Examine uranium mining and milling activities and associated transport, which are fast developing in the African region and which potentially present a security concern.
- Discuss regulatory frameworks for nuclear waste management, safety and measurements.
- Identify policy and implementation challenges in participating states.
- Identify potential future capacity building and implementation assistance programmes.
- Provide a forum for exchange between the participants, assess needs and gaps and address these through co-ordinated support programmes by international organisations.
- Discuss any other relevant issue with the participating countries and regional organisations.
The seminar brought together some 72 participants over the three days, including governmental delegates or relevant national authorities from the following southern African countries: Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The speakers included representatives from:
- the European Commission in charge of the implementation of the projects funded under the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC) and the long-term component of the Instrument for Stability (IfS);
- The Joint Research Centre (JRC);
- The European External Action Service (EEAS);
- The European Commission’s Development and Cooperation Directorate–General (DEVCO);
- The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI);
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); and
- The Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation of the United States’ Department of Energy (US-DoE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
The NNSA led the US delegation, while representatives from the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), the Nuclear Safeguards and Security Cooperation (NSSP) and the Second Line of Defense (SLD) programmes presented their support activities in the field.