Preventing the risk of weapon expertise proliferation
In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, particular concerns arose over the threat of proliferation of knowledge expertise related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Efforts were focused on ways to prevent the illicit sale by former WMD scientists and technicians of their knowledge, sensitive materials or technologies. To this end, two inter-governmental organisations were set up to redirect scientists and engineers with WMD knowledge and skills towards peaceful activities − the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC) in Moscow, and later the Science and Technology Centre in Ukraine (STCU).
Multiple WMD proliferation threats and risks still exist in the area of the former Soviet Union. Weapons scientists and engineers no longer required in state programmes could be enticed into covert activity in proliferating states and terrorist or organised-crime groups. Benefiting from its long working experience and relations with many WMD-related institutes, the ISTC has a wide expertise in non-proliferation fields and plays an important role in mitigating those risks.
Role and contribution of the European Union
Since 1994, the European Union, (EU) together with other Parties, has funded the ISTC to carry out its mission of ensuring the non-proliferation of WMD scientific and technical expertise. As a founder of the ISTC and one of its main contributors, the EU aims at providing former WMD scientists with sustainable research employment in civilian and peaceful areas. Since the inception of ISTC activities, the EU has contributed to this objective through funding over 900 ISTC supported research projects involving thousands of former WMD scientists.
Since 2006, the EU support to ISTC has been carried out in the framework of the European Security Strategy, which develops a broad EU approach to building stability and addresses major global threats. The Strategy identifies proliferation of WMD as potentially the greatest threat to global security and the employment of former WMD scientists is instrumental to mitigate it. Under the Instrument for Stability created in 2006, the EU has engaged in long-term actions which counter global and trans-regional threats arising from proliferation of nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical materials and agents whilst at the same time contributing to EU external policy objectives. EU support to ISTC is part of those actions, which are also carried out within the framework of the EU contribution to the G8 Global Partnership Initiative against the Spread of WMD, launched in 2002.
European Security Strategy:
Instrument for Stability:
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