On 4 November 2014, within the context of Germany’s G7 Presidency, the Federal Foreign Office hosted the first of three meetings of the Working Group of the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (Global Partnership Working Group, GPWG).
Christoph Eichhorn, Deputy Federal Government Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control, welcomed more than 120 delegates to the Europasaal at the Federal Foreign Office. Participants included representatives of the EU and international organisations as well as the G7 partners.
Since the Global Partnership was founded in 2002, the GP members have gathered regularly, in line with the rotation of the G7 presidency, with the main goal of launching specific projects to tackle the abuse of weapons and materials of mass destruction and reduce chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear risks. As well as facilitating knowledge transfer and coordination, the GP meetings also provide a platform for expanding bilateral and multilateral networks.
Focus on Ebola und Ukraine
At the meeting on 4 November the main focuses were the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the need for measures promoting chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security in Ukraine. The member countries reported on ongoing projects and agreed on plans for the future. The German Partnership Programme for Excellence in Biological and Health Security (running from 2013 to 2016 with a budget of more than 23 million euros in over 20 partner countries) makes a vital contribution to the GP in the field of biological risks.
On 4 November one of the topics discussed in the GP was the plan for a “diagnostic protection zone” around the countries directly affected by Ebola. This is designed to prevent the further spread of the Ebola virus and the resulting security risks. The GP meeting involved close consultation with the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the area of nuclear security the talks centred on the interaction between the GPWG and the Nuclear Security Summit due to take place in the United States in 2016, as well as on concrete projects and new developments.
Progress was also discernible with regard to cooperation with Ukraine. Numerous GP members, including Germany, the United States and the EU, have entered into bilateral negotiations with their partner Ukraine. In addition to technical support and funding for equipment, initial and further training in using technologies to protect against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks is to be provided.
The next meeting of the GPWG will take place in Munich at the end of April 2015.