Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good afternoon, everyone. My name is Shawn Barber, acting director general of the Non-Proliferation and Security Threat Reduction Bureau at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
I am pleased to be here today to discuss with you what we are doing internationally to help reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.
Joining me are two of my colleagues, Mr. Graeme Hamilton, who's the deputy director of the global partnership program, and Mr. Terry Wood, who's a senior coordinator for international nuclear cooperation, both of whom work with me in the Non-proliferation and Security Threat Reduction Bureau.
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or WMDs, and related materials remains an ongoing security threat to Canada and the broader international community. Some terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, have openly acknowledged they're interested in obtaining weapons-usable nuclear materials.
The illicit trafficking of nuclear and/or radiological materials, including by criminal organizations, was recently identified by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, as a growing concern. The IAEA has reported nearly 2,000 incidents of unauthorized use, transport, and possession of nuclear and other radioactive material between 1993 and 2011.
Responding to the threat of nuclear terrorism requires us to act across a number of fronts.
First, we must work with our like-minded partners to ensure better protection of nuclear facilities and stocks of nuclear materials around the world.
Second, where possible, Canada and its international partners must reduce domestic stocks of highly enriched uranium and weapons-usable radiological materials, so that there is simply less available supply that can find its way into the wrong hands.
I would add that in this regard the decision yesterday by North Korea to test a nuclear device and the ongoing efforts by Iran to increase its stockpile of weapons-grade uranium run precisely counter to this objective, and as such, represent a grave threat to international peace and security.
Third, we must work with others to enhance the ability of source countries to detect the cross-border movements of highly enriched uranium and dangerous radiological isotopes so we can disrupt the illicit flows of these materials.
Fourth, we need to ensure our domestic legislation and criminal sanctions are up to date and in compliance with our international treaty obligations in this area. That is what Bill S-9 intends to accomplish. It will allow Canada to ratify the amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
Finally, the threat of nuclear terrorism must remain a focus of the international security agenda. That is what the recent Nuclear Security Summit process has been about.
There have been two nuclear security summits to date: in 2010 in Washington D.C. and in 2012 in Seoul, South Korea.
At last year's summit, Prime Minister Harper, along with 53 other world leaders, renewed the following commitments: strengthening the legal framework against the threat of nuclear terrorism and for the protection of nuclear materials; securing vulnerable nuclear materials globally; minimizing the civilian use of weapons-usable nuclear materials; enhancing transportation security; and preventing illicit trafficking.
The next nuclear security summit will be hosted by the Netherlands in The Hague in March 2014.
Canada is also a member of the global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism, GICNT, an international partnership of 83 nations working to improve capacity on a national and international level for prevention, detection, and response to a nuclear terrorist incident. As a GICNT partner, early last year Canada hosted an international tabletop exercise in Toronto, simulating a combined federal, provincial, and municipal response to a nuclear terrorist incident. The meeting was attended by more than 150 delegates from 45 countries and was an opportunity to share best practices in coordinating a response to these types of threats.
At the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, Prime Minister Harper announced Canada's intention to repatriate additional stockpiles of highly enriched materials from Chalk River Laboratories to the United States prior to 2018, and a new $5 million Canadian voluntary contribution to the IAEA's nuclear security fund to secure nuclear facilities in regions where urgent needs have been identified. Canada is the third largest donor to the IAEA's nuclear security fund, after the U.S. and U.K., with donations totalling $17 million since 2004.
The Prime Minister has also announced the renewal and continued funding of DFAIT's global partnership program, which I am honoured to lead, for an additional five years with $367 million in funding. That translates into an annual budget of $73.4 million from 2013 to 2018. The global partnership program has a mandate to secure and, where possible, destroy weapons of mass destruction and related materials and to keep them from being acquired by terrorists and states of proliferation concern.
Through the program, which supports the 25-member global partnership against the spread of weapons of mass destruction, Canada is actively implementing concrete nuclear security projects globally, and has spent more than $485 million toward nuclear and radiological security to date. This includes $209 million toward nuclear submarine dismantlement in Russia, $194 million on physical security projects in the former Soviet Union, and $13 million to prevent illicit trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials. We have also made major contributions to the elimination of WMD-related material including a $9 million investment to shut down the last plutonium-producing reactor in Russia.
The program has since refocused its efforts to target new and emerging threats in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and the Americas.
For example, the global partnership program has recently contributed $8 million to remove highly enriched uranium and to convert research reactors to run on non-weapons usable nuclear material—low-enriched uranium—in Mexico and Vietnam. A $1.5-million contribution was also made to secure radiological sources in Libya, in co-operation with the U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Numerous projects elsewhere in the world have also received contributions.
A significant portion of the program's budget over the next five years is also expected to be spent on nuclear and radiological security projects.
In conclusion, Bill S-9 is an integral part of a comprehensive Canadian strategy to combat nuclear terrorism, and a key component of Canada's promotion of nuclear security abroad. We have made progress in addressing this threat, but much remains to be done.
My colleagues and I would be pleased to respond to your questions.