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Kenya Hosts An International Meeting On Nuclear Security With The IAEA For African States

Delegates from Nuclear Power and Energy Agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other African Countries pose for a photo during the Kenya- IAEA Regional Technical Meeting at Nyali Sun Africa Beach Hotel on 8th- 12th July 2019 in Mombasa County

Commencing on 8th July 2019, the Government of Kenya through Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA) and Radiation Protection Board (RPB) in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) hosted a five-day regional workshop to promote the Universalization of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) in Mombasa, Kenya.

The main objective was to promote and facilitate the implementation of the 2005 amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material that seeks to promote nuclear security across the world brought together representatives from ten African countries: Ghana, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Malawi Namibia and Kenya.

During the meeting the Government of Kenya represented by Mr Joseph. Maina, CEO Radiation Protection Board (RPB) and Eng. Ezra Odhiambo, Chairman of the Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (NuPEA) accompanied by Board Members Dr Kiptoo Koross and Stephen Karanja, underlined the importance of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and stressed Kenya’s commitments to strengthening of the international nuclear security and its effective implementation.

“I encourage other countries in the region who have not adhered to these important instruments to do so. Kenya is ready and willing to share its experience during ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material,” Said Eng. Ezra Odhiambo.

The convention’s importance is underscored by the fact that it created a platform for exchange of views and information.

Speaking in her opening remarks, IAEA Representative on Nuclear Security- Ms. Dang Anh Thu, expressed appreciation to the Government of Kenya for hosting the event and noted that it is essential for all States to adhere to the Convention and its amendment, not just those with nuclear facilities or nuclear material.

This echoed the sentiments of IAEA Director General Yukia Amano in 2006 during the Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington DC, USA.

“There are still a large number of countries which are not parties to the Amendment. Terrorists will target the weakest link in any chain. Universal adherence to the amended Convention is therefore essential,” said Mr Amano.

Ratification and implementation of the amendment requires the engagement of multiple national agencies, some of which may not be familiar with either Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material or nuclear security matters more generally. This can make ratification and implementation challenging.

The meeting introduced the International Legal Framework for Nuclear Security, Physical Protection and Transport Security under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the amendment, IAEA’s Technical and Legislative Assistance to its Member States, the benefits of joining the A/CPPNM and the CPPNM Point of Contacts Meeting and Preparations for 2021 Conference to review the A/CPPNM.

Some of the other notable presenters included United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Global Affairs of Canada and Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) who presented on the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT).