The imprint of previous ministerial conferences on nuclear security in the work of the international nuclear security community, notably through the adoption of ministerial declarations and the active participation of countries, was the main thread of the discussions during a side event organized on the sidelines of the 67th General Conference of the IAEA. The event was organized in light of the upcoming International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS 2024) scheduled for May 2024.
The abstract submission deadline for ICONS 2024 has been extended until October 16 for oral and poster presentations under four themes: nuclear security policy and regulation; technology and infrastructure for nuclear security prevention, detection and response; nuclear security capacity building; and cross-cutting topics in nuclear security.
“Shaping the future of nuclear security requires deep knowledge of the past, and today’s event brings together key contributors from past ICONS to share their experience and valuable insights,” said Elena Buglova, Director of the IAEA Nuclear Security Division, in his introductory speech. . “ICONS 2024 will build on the successes of ICONS held in 2013, 2016 and most recently in 2020.”
The roundtable hosted representatives from Hungary, Nigeria, Panama, the Republic of Korea and Romania. All five countries have served ICONS in different presidential roles or on committees.
“I fully agree with the view of ICONS 2020 participants that the international community must keep nuclear security at the top of its agenda, which was also enshrined in the adopted consensus ministerial declaration, and that even if the responsibility for nuclear security lies with each State, in our In a globalized world, international cooperation in this area is also essential. In this context, I consider it of great importance that the 2024 conference continues to build on the results of previous ICONS,” said Ambassador Ferenc Dancs of Hungary. “Hungary is ready to work with all of you throughout this conference in the interest of our shared vision of enhanced nuclear security,” he added.
In line with previous ICONS, at the upcoming ICONS 2024, countries will aim to present a ministerial declaration reflecting their nuclear security priorities, which will then inform the IAEA Nuclear Security Plan for the years 2026-2029.
“ICONS 2024 is more important than ever, as we all must reaffirm our commitment to nuclear security at the highest political level,” said Panama Ambassador Dario Ernesto Chiru. “There are new risks and challenges in nuclear security, and we need to talk about them,” he added, calling for broad participation in the ICONS ministerial segment.
Additionally, the ICONS science and engineering segment will provide a forum for countries to discuss and exchange information on the opportunities and challenges that scientific and engineering innovations present to enhance global nuclear security.
The impact of ICONS allows countries to further strengthen their national nuclear security regimes. Reflecting on his country’s experience, Yau Usman Idris, Director General/CEO of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, shared his country’s perspective during the panel discussion. “Considering that the responsibility for nuclear security within a State rests entirely with that State, Nigeria recognizes the central role of the IAEA in strengthening the global nuclear security framework and in coordinating the international cooperation in nuclear security.” In July, Nigeria hosted a International Advisory Service on Physical Protection (IPPAS) to further strengthen its national nuclear security regime, measures and systems. “Nigeria has established a National Nuclear Security Coordination Center and is currently updating its legislative and regulatory framework in line with the findings of IPPAS,” Idris added.
The roundtable also addressed questions regarding the future of nuclear security and discussed the expected direction of the ICONS 2024 Ministerial Declaration.
Na Young Lee, president of the Korea Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Control Institute (KINAC), said that “ICONS has provided periodic opportunities for nuclear security experts to share their best practices and cutting-edge technologies in combating against emerging threats, and the Republic of Korea appreciates this opportunity to strengthen its own nuclear security system and will continue to provide the greatest possible support to build a strong international nuclear security regime. Commenting on the need to attract the next generation to a career in nuclear security, she said: “We need to place greater emphasis on the importance of nuclear security and promote awareness of it. ICONS provides a suitable platform for this, and I hope to generate interest and support at all levels and every generation of interested parties to shape the future of nuclear security, with ICONS 2024 and its ministerial segment like momentum.