U.S. to focus on biosecurity as chair of the Global Partnership

The United States will focus on bio-security, radiological security and other important areas as the chair of the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction in 2012.

Bonnie Jenkins, an ambassador who is the coordinator for threat reduction programs for the State Department, is currently the U.S. representative to the partnership and will chair the organization throughout 2012.

The other areas the U.S. will focus on, as outlined during the 2011 G8 summit in Deauville, will be scientist engagement and facilitation of the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540.

The partnership began at the Kenanaskis G8 summit in 2002 as a $20 billion, 10 year initiative to stop terrorists and the states that support them from developing or acquiring weapons of mass destruction. The GP now includes 23 partners. U.S. officials will look to expand membership of the partnership throughout 2012. The partnership, which has allocated approximately $21 billion worldwide, voted to extend the partnership beyond 2012 during the Deauville summit.

The partnership addresses counterterrorism, disarmament, non-proliferation and nuclear safety through cooperative projects such as dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines, destruction of chemical weapons and rechanneling former weapons scientists to peaceful endeavors. The U.S. anticipates that it will provide up to $10 billion between 2012 and 2022 for threat reduction efforts, subject to annual appropriations by Congress.