After almost 20 years the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), backed by the UN, entered into force. Panama ratified its adherence on 8 April, and the 102 threshold necessary to put the agreement into force was achieved.
“The entry into force of the Amendment demonstrates the determination of the international community to act together to strengthen nuclear security globally,” said Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Agency (IAEA).
Since its implementation on 8 May the Convention will make countries protects nuclear facilities, as well as nuclear material in domestic use, storage and transport. It will also help preventing terrorist attacks involving nuclear material and make it more difficult to smuggle this type of material.
This is the only international legally-binding Convention that establishes measures to prevent, detect and punish offenses regarding the physical protection of nuclear material. For Mr. Amano it is “the single most important step which the world can take to strengthen nuclear security.”
New international notification and cooperation requirements will be operational, this includes information sharing between states in locating and recovering stolen material.
But several states had already begun supporting these measures before. Nigeria hosted regional workshops to promote the Amendment in Africa during 2012. Spain updated its regulations on physical protection of nuclear facilities and materials in 2011 and 2015.
Since 2011 Canada's Global Partnership has given more than 700,000 dollars to support workshops and follow-up assistance to help other countries implement the Amendment.
For now on the IAEA will host meetings to improve the mechanisms for sharing information. Also, as depositary for the Convention, Mr.Amano has to convene a conference of State Parties to review the implementation and adequacy in 2021.
“Our collective efforts have now paid off. The world will be a safer place as a result,” concluded Mr. Amano.
The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material was signed at Vienna and at New York on 3 March 1980. In July 2005 A Diplomatic Conference was convened to amend the Convention to strengthen its provisions, which came to an end 8 May.