21 March 2014
The third bi-annual Nuclear Security Summit will take place at the World Forum in The Hague, Netherlands from March 24th -25th, 2014.
The Hague was chosen as a host location due to its major hubs Schiphol and Rotterdam, in addition to housing the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court. The official website of the summit reports that The Netherlands is symbolic due to “its global reputation as a country of peace, justice and security”.
The forum highlights three key goals, which include reducing nuclear materials around the world, improving the security of all current nuclear materials, and strengthening international cooperation between countries. The summit will also focus on multilateral cooperation between nation-states in order to achieve these aims. In an article by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, seven countries—Austria, Czech Republic, Sweden, Ukraine, Vietnam, Mexico, and most recently, Hungary—have completely or nearly removed all of their weapons-useable materials from their countries, and that the US Department of Energy’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative has been instrumental in achieving this goal.
In a document by the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, whom the Russian Federation and the United States are co-Chairs, the organization stresses that “[…] the GICNT leadership will seek to engage partner nations in practical exercises and workshops that enable them to prepare for and practice responding to nuclear security events. Such activities will focus on encouraging interagency, regional, and international cooperation and communication, in accordance with the proposals for GICNT work endorsed by the partners at the 2013 Plenary meeting in Mexico City”.
Diplomats from around the world are expected to attend, including ambassadors from 53 nations and observers from the European Council, the European Commission, INTERPOL, and the United Nations. President Barack Obama of the United States, PM Shinzo Abe of Japan, President Xi Jinping of China, PM Stephen Harper of Canada, Vice President Jejomar Binay of the Philippines, and President Francois Holland of France are also expected to participate in the meeting. Thousands of delegates and journalists will join to provide coverage of the event.
Increased traffic and safety precautions have been implemented as a result of high-profile diplomats arriving in The Netherlands. Visits to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam by President Obama and other political figures have also heightened security, and Dutch newpaper Parool reports that, “On Thursday afternoon, eight US military helicopters were spotted circling over the city checking out security issues and potential escape routes.”
In addition, non-government organizations such as Global Zero, a Paris-based and internationally endorsed movement, will also take part in the conference to protest against the possession of nuclear armaments. Participants from around the world will cycle approximately the radius of a nuclear blast around The Hague on the eve of the summit as a symbolic reminder of the dangers that nuclear weapons pose to entire cities. Members of Global Zero, including Lauren Zingarelli, wish to send a clear message that there are “more than 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world, [and] the only way to prevent this urgent global threat is to eliminate all of them.”