Road Report: Non-Proliferation Roundtable in Italy

The International Working Group, organized by the Landau Network Centro Volta in Como, Italy, hosted a working roundtable meeting on Monday, June 20, 2011 on "Science Collaboration and Security: A New Global Outreach to Key Actors." Some three dozen experts from twelve countries, including Canada, China, India, Italy, Pakistan, Russia, and the U.S., discussed the CBRN (chemical, biological, radioactive, and nuclear) threat today and efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Maurizio Martellini, Executive Secretary of the Working Group, and Anne Harrington, Deputy Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the U.S. Department of Energy, introduced the topic and stressed the importance of bilateral and multilateral approaches to global nonproliferation and engagement efforts.  With the expansion of knowledge across the globe, what some call the “democratization of information,” the continuation of the G-8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction has become all the more important. The Global Partnership was established at Kananaskis, Canada in 2002 and now comprises 23 countries involved in nonproliferation activities. The recent annual G-8 meeting in Deauville, France emphasized the importance of international scientific engagement, United Nations Resolution 1540, nuclear and radiological security, and biosecurity as key priorities.  The next G-8 Global Partnership will take place in Chicago, Illinois in 2012.

Paul Walker, director of our Security and Sustainability Program, spoke on lessons learned from the Global Green and Green Cross facilitation of threat reduction, nonproliferation, and demilitarization of Cold War weapons stockpiles over the past fifteen years. He urged colleagues to take a broader approach today with emphasis on inclusiveness of stakeholders and transparency. Other participants urged a shift from “top-down projects” in nonproliferation to “demand-driven projects,” underlining the needs of the partner country, and the growing need for a “culture of security and safety,” especially when dealing with high technology and risk management today. Many participants supported the need to “empower the science community” today to help develop cultures of security and safety and raise greater awareness of national and international needs. And the need to move from “donor and recipient” to true “partnerships” in nonproliferation and threat reduction programs was once again stressed by many speakers.