Enhancing capacities to prevent the trafficking of radiological and nuclear material in Southeast Asia
On 27-28 April 2022, UNICRI, in partnership with the Anti-Terrorism Council – Program Management Center (ATC-PMC) - held an in-person, 2-day workshop in Manila to consult with the Republic of the Philippines’ authorities in charge of preventing and combating the illicit trafficking of radiological and nuclear (RN) material. The workshop was conducted within the framework of the project “CONTACT – Enhancing capacities to prevent the trafficking of radiological and nuclear material in Southeast Asia”.
Over the course of the two days, UNICRI’s experts met with more than 40 State authorities with different mandates pertaining to countering RN trafficking and discussed issues such as legal and regulatory framework; inter-agency coordination mechanisms; available assets (equipment, human resources, and expertise); regional cooperation; and future actions.
Indeed, as one of the cornerstones of the initial phase of the CONTACT project, the Priority Identification Mission aimed at determining points of strength and capabilities as well as current gaps and loopholes. The event also constituted an opportunity for UNICRI to provide an overview of the project and its different phases of implementation; and to present the training curriculum on intelligence-led operations to thwart RN trafficking attempts which is specifically developed for security, law enforcement and nuclear regulatory authority staff.
The workshop consisted of both plenary sessions with all relevant agencies and departments as well as bilateral meetings with government officials to address pressing issues and specific needs. Representatives from the following authorities attended the event: the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute; the Departments of Foreign Affairs, National Defense and Transportation; the Armed Forces of the Philippines; the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency; the Philippine Ports Authority and Coast Guard; the National Coast Watch Council Secretariat; the Department of Trade and Industry; the Bureau of Customs; the Department of the Interior and Local Government; and the National Security Council Secretariat.
The consultations were particularly fruitful and contributed to the identification of common goals and actions to strengthen international and regional cooperation, share knowledge, and enhance capacities to prevent the illicit trafficking of RN material
The plenary was opened by the Assistant Secretary for Public Safety and Security, Mr. Alexander L. Macario: the Undersecretary from the Office of the President, Mr. Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan, and by the UNICRI’s representative Ms. Carlotta Zenere.
All participating authorities expressed their strong support to the project and considered it as a step forward towards the improvement of the security context of the Southeast Asia region, where the threat posed by malicious actors and, notably, terrorists, remains high. It was also emphasized the need for continuous and sustainable support in the medium term to strengthen capacity-building in the area of RN trafficking.
CONTACT – Southeast Asia aims at enhancing capacities of nuclear security stakeholders in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Philippines, and Viet Nam to devise and carry out operations to thwart radiological and nuclear (RN) trafficking attempts, as well as to foster regional cooperation and communication among the four partner countries. The project is funded by Global Affairs Canada’s Weapons Threat Reduction Program.