Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism
The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) is an international partnership of 83 nations and 4 official observers working to improve capacity on a national and international level for prevention, detection, and response to a nuclear terrorist event. Partners join the GICNT by endorsing the Statement of Principles, a set of broad nuclear security objectives. GICNT partner nations organize and host workshops, conferences, and exercises to share best practices for implementing the Statement of Principles. The GICNT also holds Plenary meetings to discuss improvements and changes to the partnership.
On July 16, 2006, Presidents George W. Bush and Vladmir Putin jointly announced the organization of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. The GICNT is a voluntary initiative aimed at fostering international cooperation in order to prevent terrorists from acquiring, transporting, or using nuclear materials or radioactive substances, to deter hostile actions against nuclear facilities, and to respond to incidents involving the use of radiological or nuclear materials. GICNT participants work to unite experience and expertise from the nonproliferation, counter-proliferation, and counter-terrorism fields; strengthen global activities and institutions through integration of collective capabilities and resources; and maintain a network for partners to share information and expertise in a legally non-binding capacity.
The founding 13 nations gathered in Rabat, Morocco, on October 30-31, 2006, for the first Plenary Meeting and agreed to a framework for the partnership, and a system for organizing events and charting nation progress. The Statement of Principles was the final product that guides GICNT efforts. Any country may choose to officially endorse in order to become a partner of the GICNT.
More recently, President Barack Obama in his Prague Speech on April 5, 2009 called for making the GICNT a "durable international institution." The historic 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, which President Obama initiated and hosted, highlighted the contributions of the GICNT to international efforts to combat nuclear terrorism.
The most recent plenary meeting in Abu Dhabi resulted in several changes to the GICNT. The partnership adopted a revised Terms of Reference, activated an Implementation and Assessment Group (IAG), selected Spain as the Coordinator for the IAG, and selected the U.S. and Russia to continue serving as the Co-Chairs.
Statement of Principles
- Develop, if necessary, and improve accounting, control and physical protection systems for nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances.
- Enhance security of civilian nuclear facilities.
- Improve the ability to detect nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances in order to prevent illicit trafficking in such materials and substances, to include cooperation in the research and development of national detection capabilities that would be interoperable.
- Improve capabilities of participants to search for, confiscate, and establish safe control over unlawfully held nuclear or other radioactive materials and substances or devices using them.
- Prevent the provision of safe haven to terrorists and financial or economic resources to terrorists seeking to acquire or use nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances.
- Ensure adequate respective national legal and regulatory frameworks sufficient to provide for the implementation of appropriate criminal and, if applicable, civil liability for terrorists and those who facilitate acts of nuclear terrorism.
- Improve capabilities of participants for response, mitigation, and investigation, in cases of terrorist attacks involving the use of nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances, including the development of technical means to identify nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances that are, or may be, involved in the incident.
- Promote information sharing pertaining to the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism and their facilitation, taking appropriate measures consistent with their national law and international obligations to protect the confidentiality of any information which they exchange in confidence.
Current Partner Nations
Meetings and Exercises
June 30, 2011 Daejeon, Republic of Korea
June 29, 2010 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
June 16, 2009 The Hague, Netherlands
June 16-18, 2008 Madrid, Spain
June 11-12, 2007 Astana, Kazakhstan
February 12-13, 2007 Ankara, Turkey
October 30-31, 2006 Rabat, Morocco
November 7-8, 2011 Public Messaging Seminar and Discussion Exercise
May 23-25 2011, IAG Nuclear Forensics TableTop Exercise
March 22-25 2011, International Exercise Rabat
November 24-26, 2009 The Netherlands-Exercise COBALT: International cooperation after a Radiological-Nuclear(RN) event
May 7-8, 2009 Canberra, Australia-"Blue Glow": Nuclear material detection techniques
October 15-17, 2008 Avila, Spain-Spanish Field Training Exercise: Benefits of implementation of GICNT goals and objectives
June 6-8, 2008 Kazkhstan-"Atom Anti-Terror 2008": Mechanisms for response, alert, and management of an attack on a nuclear facility
May 29-30, 2008 Madrid, Spain-Spanish Table Top Exercise: Response to radiological material theft
While the GICNT has garnered many members and held many events, there are some in the academic community who believe there is room for expansion and improvement. In a piece evaluating the GICNT, the Stimson Center notes that the GICNT will be useful for countries to fulfill their UNSCR 1540 commitments. However it points out that many countries that fissile material cannot afford the funds and manpower needed to implement necessary safeguards, and the GICNT does not provide a mechanism to address this shortcoming. WMD Insights published a similar piece that applauded the expansive growth of the GICNT. At the same time, it recognized that this large partnership could impede nations' ability to "harmonize their long-term research and development programs" as well as construct detailed plans for dealing with the "sources, magnitude, and appropriate responses to nuclear terrorist threats." Finally, George Bunn writes that the GICNT is an important first step but has failed to rapidly upgrade security for nuclear stockpiles and places few demands on a country for membership.
- NTI Issue Brief: The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism
- Enforcing International Standards George Bunn
- Statement of Principles, U.S. Department of State
- UNSCR 1540
- The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism Stimson Center
- Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism: Steady, but Slow Progress WMD Insights
- Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: An Agenda for the Next President George Bunn
- List of designated terrorist organizations
- List of terrorist incidents
- Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents
- Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
- Nuclear technology
- Nuclear weapon
- Proliferation Security Initiative