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Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) at its 1127th meeting, held on 16 December 2022, on Briefing on the Activities of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CBTO):

The Peace and Security Council,

Recalling all its previous pronouncements and decisions on the African Nuclear Weapons-Free-Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba), particularly Communique? [PSC/PR/COMM.1071 (2022)] adopted at its 1071st meeting held on 31 March 2022; also recalling the objectives of Strategic Priority Four, of the Roadmap of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), which aims at enhancing the timeliness and effectiveness of the responses to strategic security challenges by all stakeholders, including the implementation of international regimes on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), disarmament and non-proliferation;

Noting the opening statement by H.E. Victor Adeleke, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of December 2022; also noting the presentations by Mr. Enobot Agboraw, the Executive Secretary of AFCONE; and by Dr. Robert Floyd, the Executive Secretary to the CBTO;

Reaffirming the AU’s commitment to ensure a nuclear-free African Continent; and

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council:

1. Welcomes the progress made towards the implementation of the Treaty of Pelindaba and commends the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) for their efforts, including the development of Joint Action Plans in partnership with other international organizations and stakeholders in other Nuclear Weapon-Free Zones, aimed at consolidating and strengthening efforts towards nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful application of nuclear science and technology;

2. Encourages the positive use of nuclear science and technology in Africa to improve technology and achieve optimum outcomes in socio-economic development for the benefit of the African continent, including in increasing food production and in this regard, requests AFCONE to continue engaging Member States in enhancing the peaceful use of nuclear energy resources available in the Continent, including in radiotherapy treatment;

3. Emphasizes the need for synergy and collaboration of the AFCONE, CTBTO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), with a view to identifying development projects for the Continent;

4. Requests AFCONE, working in close coordination with CTBTO and the AU Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as other relevant partners to undertake the following:

a) Continue to mobilize resources for the peaceful use of nuclear energy on the continent;

b) Raise awareness of AFCONE members that are also States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the CTBTO to enable them benefit more from civil nuclear uses, including organizing side events during AU Summits; and

c) Provide technical support, and contribute towards building the capacities of Member States to promote the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology for socio-economic development, including in sectors such as health, education, agro-allied industry, desalination and climate change adaptation, and utilizing CTBTO data and technologies for civil and scientific purposes, including earthquake monitoring, tsunami warning, and climate change monitoring.

5. Expresses deep concern over the threats to the security and safety of nuclear facilities during armed confrontations and strongly urges all those concerned, to refrain from such tendencies and to ensure protection of the humanity from the impact of nuclear weapons;

6. Encourages, State Parties to the Treaty of Pelindaba to fulfil their financial obligations and ensure timely implementation of the decisions of the 4th and 5th Ordinary Sessions of the Conference of States Parties to the Treaty of Pelindaba held in March 2018 and May 2022 respectively, with a view to enabling AFCONE discharge its mandate efficiently and effectively, and to promote peaceful use of nuclear science and technology on the Continent;

7. Calls for enhanced collaboration and strengthening of efforts towards nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy through the implementation of joint action plans between AFCONE members that are also CTBTO members, IAEA, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and other relevant international organizations;

8. Congratulates all Member States that have already signed and ratified the Treaty of Pelindaba and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; and strongly encourages those Member States that have not yet done so, to ratify or accede to the Treaties, without further delay; and reiterates its call on the State Parties to the Protocols to the Treaty of Pelindaba to affirm their commitment to secure a peaceful world and respect for the African Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty by ratifying the same, as soon as possible;

9. Encourages the CTBTO to expand capacity building opportunities for African countries to enable them contribute to, and benefit from, the CTBTO verification regime, as may be appropriate;

10. Recommends to the AU Assembly to consider the feasibility and desirability of integrating AFCONE into the AU as a specialized agency, and taking into consideration the proposal by the State Parties to the Treaty of Pelindaba, directs the AU Commission to work with the Task Team to be established by AFCONE to consider the legal implications;

11. Directs the Commission to work with AFCONE to realize full ratification of the Treaty of Pelindaba and encourages the CTBTO Preparatory Commission to continue engaging those Member States yet to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty with a view to achieving universalization and entry into force of the CTBT and strengthening global peace, security and development, and to provide regular updates to the Council;

12. Requests the Commission, working with AFCONE and CTBTO, to organize a forum on the importance of the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone for African Peace and Security, the peaceful applications of nuclear energy in Africa, capacity building to improve abilities of African countries to participate in the CTBT verification regime and relevant transfer of technology;

13. Decides to regularize and institutionalize the briefing as an annual statutory meeting of the PSC; and

14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by Limi Mohammed

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