OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
APLN member Trevor Findlay contributed a chapter on the ‘The IAEA’s Critical Role in Nuclear Security‘ to the Oxford Handbook of Nuclear Security edited by Christopher Hobbs and Sarah Tsinieris published earlier this year.
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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the key multilateral global nuclear governance body, describes itself as the ‘global platform’ for nuclear security efforts, with a ‘central role’ in facilitating international cooperation in the field. After initial contestation among member states about whether the IAEA’s mandate encompassed it, nuclear security has now been universally accepted as a valuable mainstream IAEA activity. Although states still insist that nuclear security is primarily their responsibility, the Agency’s programme continues to evolve and grow and can barely meet demand for its services. It has been particularly effective in promulgating recommendations for enhancing nuclear security at the national level and in advising and assisting states in striving for higher standards. Since the end of the Nuclear Security Summit process in 2016, the IAEA has taken on the role of principal conference convenor, involving a ministerial meeting and increasingly creative technical presentations and side events. The Agency faces the usual dilemmas of international organizations in being constrained by what its member states will allow and by financial and technical limitations. This can result in modest advances after painstaking negotiations and lowest-common-denominator approaches. With a more expansive mandate, sharper prioritization and evaluation of its activities, and guaranteed funding through the regular budget, the IAEA could make a significantly greater contribution to preventing nuclear terrorism.