At a time when regional conflicts rarely remain restricted to a particular region, multilateral dialogues and cross-border cooperation on concrete projects are more vital than ever before. In this connection, the meetings of the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction provide an important platform for an exchange among experts; ongoing projects are coordinated and new ideas put forward. They are always chaired by the current G7 Presidency.
The Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, which has a total of 28 members, is the G7’s largest working group. Alongside the G7 states and the European Union, Australia, Belgium, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine are working to prevent the misuse of weapons-grade material.
From Kananaskis (2002) to Deauville (2011): The Global Partnership shifts its focus
Since its establishment, the Global Partnership has helped reduce chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological proliferation risks. At the Kananaskis Summit, the members undertook to spend a total of 20 billion US dollars on preventing terrorists from obtaining access to weapons of mass destruction and weapons-grade material. In this connection, they are also working to secure and destroy all remaining stocks (some originating from the Second World War) which do not serve current defence purposes. Stocks in the successor states to the former Soviet Union were a special focus of attention.
In the following years, Germany contributed a total of 1.5 billion US dollars to projects in Russia whose purpose was to ensure the destruction of chemical weapons, improved security of nuclear weapons, materials and facilities as well as the disarmament and disposal of decommissioned nuclear submarines.
Following the successful conclusion of projects in the CIS states, the G8 countries extended the Global Partnership’s mandate at the Deauville Summit in 2011. New priorities included biological security as well as the implementation of UN Resolution 1540 (control of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction). The member states no longer invest in a joint GP fund but finance their own projects.
The Global Partnership within the framework of Germany’s G7 Presidency
Germany took over the G7 Presidency on 1 July 2014 and thus also the chairmanship of the Global Partnership. Just like the US and Britain before it, the current chair is focusing on biosecurity. Germany has made available 23 million euros for the German Partnership Program for Excellence in Biological and Health Security, which is operating in 21 partner countries. The programme is intended to help prevent the misuse of pathogens by state and non‑state players (e.g. bioterrorism).
In addition to this, resources from the GP fund were used to finance measures in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in East Africa. Progress has also been made in the cooperation with Ukraine: numerous GP members, including Germany, the US and the EU, have entered into bilateral negotiations with the country in order to facilitate basic and further training measures on how to deal with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks. Projects in the sphere of nuclear security will also be implemented. Further activities were discussed at the GP meeting held in Berlin on 4 November 2014.