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Africa's engagement with the international nuclear security framework
19 March 2014

In March 2014, the third Nuclear Security Summit will take place in The Hague, the Netherlands. The summit represents an opportunity for invited states to assess progress made since 2010, focusing specifically on the objectives and actions outlined in the 2010 Washington Communiqué and Washington Work Plan, and the 2012 Seoul Communiqué.

This policy brief argues that although the Nuclear Security Summit process has assisted in placing greater emphasis on improving international nuclear security, it should be seen in the context of other multilateral initiatives. The process allows participating states, especially in the developing world, to make inputs into how the international nuclear security framework is ultimately designed and implemented.

Six African countries have been invited to participate in the 2014 summit, a sign that Africa’s role in the future of the international nuclear security architecture remains crucial. Given the increase in nuclear-related activities taking place in Africa, this is a critical time for the continent to ensure that its voice is heard. Failure to do so could lead to the development of a system that ‘tilts at windmills’ instead of addressing real threats to regional and sub-regional nuclear security.

About the authors

Amelia Broodryk is a senior researcher with the ISS’s Transnational Threats and International Crime Division. Her current work focuses on Africa’s development and the threat of weapons of mass destruction. She has a master’s in international studies from the University of Pretoria.

Shaun Edge is a research consultant at the ISS. He completed his master’s in security studies (cum laude) at the University of Pretoria in 2010.

This policy brief was made possible with funding from the British High Commission in Pretoria. The ISS is also grateful for support from the following members of the ISS Partnership Forum: Governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA.