On 24 June 2021 the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) convened an online conference entitled Nuclear Security Systems in Africa: From Culture to NSSCs Development and Managing Response to Events. It was dedicated to the programs of the European Union implemented through the EU Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative, some of which are carried out by the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC)
AFCONE Executive Secretary Messaoud Baaliouamer welcomed the seventy plus participants, and pointed out the important role attributed to the EU as an external partner in the entire African Peace and security architecture, and in capacity building for nuclear security, in particular.
The opening remarks on behalf of the European Union were made by Natalie Pauwels, Head of Unit, Stability and Peace, Global and Transregional Threats, Service for Foreign Policy Instruments. She presented the EU CBRN Centers of Excellence, three of which operate in Africa comprising 27 African states. She commended the support they get from the EC Joint Research Center and ISTC. Ms Pouwels represents the EU on the ISTC Governing Board.
The main theme on the presentation of the IAEA representative Elena Buglova, IAEA Nuclear Security Division Director, who spoke about the African participation in the International Network of Nuclear Security Support Centers. In April 2021 ISTC joint this IAEA network as an observer.
Several presenters on the panel referred to their cooperation with ISTC, such as the African Centre for Science and International Security (AFRICSIS) and the Forum for Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa (FNRBA). With the latter ISTC organize trainings on security of transportation of radioactive sources and material.
The EU – funded ISTC-managed Project 60 Support to the CBRN CoE in Eastern and Central Africa in Nuclear Security was presented by Harro Wittermans, Regional Coordinator, CBRN Risk Mitigation and Security Governance Programme, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
Kamen Velichkov, ISTC SPM & Diplomatic Adviser, presented Project 5.01 15B Support to Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards under the EU Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation. It illustrated that ISTC provides assistance and transfers European experience and knowhow also to countries that remain outside of the remit of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative, like the Member States of the Southern African Development Community in the Sothern most part of the continent.
The event was a step forward in the efforts to assist African countries in adherence to, and implementation of, relevant international legal instruments, and in strengthening the regional cooperation and coordination of assistance.