Dear friends, partners, colleagues,
Germany is grateful to the UK for excellent leadership of the Global Partnership throughout 2021, in spite of difficult Covid-19 restrictions which have made the task even more challenging. We are looking forward to building on the UK’s work in 2022.
Established in June 2002 in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Global Partnership against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction will celebrate its 20th anniversary under our chairmanship. This is an honour and will give us the opportunity to celebrate the occasion and increase visibility of the GP. Indeed, strengthening visibility of the GP as part of a strong, forward-looking multilateralism is one of our over-arching aims for 2022.
Until 2011, the Global Partnership focused on large-scale projects to destroy or secure nuclear/chemical weapons and materials from the former Soviet Union. Since then, over the last decade, the GP has evolved into a forum for global coordination and implementation of nuclear, radiological, chemical and biosecurity projects. We would like to further enhance this potential throughout 2022, ensuring that the GP continues to set security priorities in accordance with the specific security risks challenging us all.
In view of Lessons Learned from the global pandemic, we will put special emphasis on the field of biological security in 2022.
One of the best decisions ever in the framework of the GP was the establishment of the Signature Initiative for mitigating biological risks in Africa. The Co-Chairs UK and Canada set a milestone with this initiative. Of course we will be continuing this key asset with the African partners. Germany already has a high profile in dealing with biosecurity in Africa, including through our German Biosecurity Program. While continuing this effort, we see at the same time a need to look at possible risks in other regions.
In the context of the upcoming 9th BTWC Review Conference we plan to make use of the GP potential in order to strengthen the BTWC, through projects, initiatives and side events.
We would also like to strengthen the connection between scientific research, pharmaceutical and biotechnological industry and governmental coordination, using Lessons Learned from the pandemic. We are planning to introduce new ideas into the biosecurity/biosafety part of the GP, like the concept of Cyber Bio-Security, for example in the context of laboratory security.
Of course we will continue work in the other fields of the GP as well.
In the field of Chemical security, our aim is to make use of the Global Partnership for preparing the OPCW for the Future and further building up co-operation. The OPCW must rise to the challenge of a new era of chemical weapons threats.
In the field of nuclear security we intend to conduct a Nuclear Security Inventory and Hazard Analysis and exchange views on project work in this field. We aim at addressing the two priority areas of nuclear security: First preventive measures to increase physical protection of nuclear and radioactive materials and facilities. And second the preventive and repressive countermeasures against nuclear terrorism and criminal activities, including capacity building and international security cooperation.
We would like to use the CBRN Working Group as a scientific platform and for expert exchange. We will examine possibilities of verification systems through new technologies, nuclear forensics as well as open source intelligence, and their role in multilateral Non-Proliferation policy.
We will return to in-person meetings of the working groups as soon as the Covid-19-situation allows. But whether virtual, hybrid or in-person – we are looking forward to seeing all of you as part of our joint action in 2022.
Deputy Commissioner for Arms Control and Disarmament of the German Federal Government, for the German Presidency of the Global Partnership 2022