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Nuclear Security
Global Action Is Under Way
This year marks several high-profile efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism and curb proliferation

We have the opportunity, as an international community, to deepen our cooperation and to strengthen the institutions and partnerships that help prevent nuclear materials from ever falling into the hands of terrorists.
—Barack Obama, Nuclear Security Summit, April 13, 2010

The world is taking major steps toward greater nuclear security. Already in 2010 we have seen the United States and Russia forge a treaty cutting thousands of nuclear weapons from their arsenals. And leaders from 47 countries gathered in Washington, DC, to answer US President Barack Obama’s call to make sure vulnerable nuclear material can never fall into the wrong hands.

Other forms of international cooperation to secure the materials needed for weapons of mass destruction, particularly at the regional level, are also gathering steam. And the community of concerned citizens and experts in the United States and around the world seem more energized than ever on this vital topic.

The April summit put a strong emphasis on the need for leadership. The technical hurdles needed for protecting and eliminating loose nuclear material are high but not insurmountable. The real challenge is in getting political leaders to take the problem more seriously and allocate the resources needed for progress. Toward that end, the Stanley Foundation worked with the Fissile Materials Working Group to organize a parallel summit of nongovernmental organizations titled “Next Generation Nuclear Security: Meeting the Global Challenge.” Attending were 227 experts from 38 different countries.

In this issue of Courier, you will find more details on the presidential summit, the NGO summit, and recommended next steps for the process. Kenneth Luongo, president of the Partnership for Global Security, spells out the catalytic role of the official summit. See content generated from our NGO summit and a letter from President Obama praising the NGO summit and calling on civil society for even greater action and attention.

Also in this issue, we highlight other unheralded but meaningful multilateral efforts to secure nuclear and other material that could be used for weapons of mass destruction. Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, the US State Department’s coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, describes the impact of the ­G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, a vital international security and nonproliferation tool. And Brian Finlay, director of the Managing Across Boundaries Program at the Henry L. Stimson Center, looks at how the quest to stop the flow of illicit nuclear materials can also help nations manage more immediate security concerns like small arms and narcotics.

Taken together, these stories illustrate not only the reality of today’s nuclear dangers, they also provide evidence that thoughtful and committed action can make a tangible difference. The quest to contain nuclear threats worldwide has miles to go, but the progress made in the last several months gives us hope that the journey will be worthwhile.

— Keith Porter, Director of Policy and Outreach, The Stanley Foundation
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The Winter 2016 issue of Courier features policy insights for the President-elect and new US leadership to improve our peace and security in nuclear policy, genocide prevention, and climate change. The issue also includes an in-depth interview with a survivor of the Phnom Penh, Cambodia genocide in the late 1970s. The full Winter 2016 issue. PDF (1.0 MB) Subscribe for FREE.

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The Stanley Foundation produced a 13-minute video looking at what needs to be done to stop terrorist groups from acquiring enough fissile material to make a bomb. The foundation talked with over a dozen diverse and distinguished experts from the Nuclear Security Governance Experts Group and the Fissile Materials Working Group to see how today's patchwork of voluntary arrangements can be forged into a long-lasting system. Watch the video.

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