+ Report Overview

Report Overview

Since the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force in 1970, states have formed voluntary initiatives to compliment the treaty’s goals and objectives. In particular, these coalitions play a critical role in reinforcing the NPT’s efforts to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism and prevent the rise of new nuclear-armed actors.

This mapping project is designed to illustrate and explore the role that several key multilateral initiatives play in bolstering the NPT by securing existing materials and blocking proliferation. The flexibility of these voluntary initiatives and regimes to respond to emerging nonproliferation and nuclear security risks allows groups of like-minded states to address key areas of concern.

The five initiatives examined in this project include the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and the G7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction (G7). Clicking on the icon for each initiative will show its geographic spread on the map and bring up background material and recommendations. Clicking on an individual country will show its membership across all five regimes.

These are not the only voluntary groups working to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and strengthen nuclear security. These five regimes, however, target crucial areas of concern and offer opportunities for collaboration, which will be critical given the rise of networks of non-state actors with expressed interest in weapons of mass destruction. With the end of the nuclear security summits in 2016, these initiatives will also play an important role in continuing to advance the work of the summits and strengthen the global nuclear security architecture. This is particularly true for the GICNT and the Global Partnership, both of which were charged with carrying out part of the nuclear security summits’ agenda.

In addition to displaying the geographic scope and providing a brief background of each initiative, this resource provides general recommendations that could improve the effectiveness of each in the years ahead. These recommendations are based on open source information about the work of each initiative. In some cases, iterations of these recommendations may be under discussion, or have already been dismissed. Where appropriate, this project also puts forward options for collaboration amongst these voluntary groups to amplify impacts and results. These recommendations are meant to spur creative thinking on the role of voluntary initiatives, as such they do not provide specific pathways for adopting or implementing the ideas put forward.

By consolidating references and recommendations, this website is intended to serve as a resource to better understand the role that voluntary initiatives play in bolstering nonproliferation and nuclear security efforts. It will be updated periodically to reflect the changing membership and priorities of each initiative, as well as additional recommendations for strengthening multilateral efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and acts of nuclear terrorism.

Nuclear Nonproliferation Initiatives: A Mapping Project


Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

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Missile Technology Control Regime

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Proliferation Security Initiative

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Nuclear Suppliers Group

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Global Partnership

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The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism

**Several GICNT member states do not appear on this map. These countries are: Cabo Verde, Malta, Mauritius, Palau, Seychelles, and Singapore.


The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) is a joint U.S.-Russian initiative launched in 2006 to prevent acts of nuclear terrorism. U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin committed to form the initiative based on their shared concern that nuclear terrorism is one of the most dangerous security challenges facing the international community.
The initial 13 countries that attended the the first meeting to form the GICNT agreed on a Statement of Principles comprised of eight different points aimed at developing capacities to combat nuclear terrorism on a “determined and systematic basis, consistent with national legal authorities and obligations.” The eight principles include improving the accounting and control of nuclear materials, securing civilian nuclear facilities, detecting illicit trafficking of nuclear materials, strengthening legal frameworks for prosecution of acts of nuclear terrorism, and improving capabilities of participants to mitigate, respond to, and investigate acts of nuclear terrorism. The GICNT accomplishes these through activities aimed at strengthening the “plans, policies, procedures, and interoperability of partner nations.”
The U.S. and Russia have remained co-chairs of the initiative since 2006. In 2010, an Implementation and Assessment Group (IAG) was formed to coordinate activities and establish working groups to focus efforts on particular areas of concern to member states. The Netherlands currently serves as the chair of the IAG.
In 2010-2011, GICNT members formed three working groups to focus efforts on a set of priority areas. The decision to move toward a working group model was intended to solidify the GICNT’s status as a durable initiative. The working groups hold meetings, exercises, and workshops that are generally open to all member states (and on occasion non-members). The working groups have also produced documents outlining a range of best practices, guidelines, and suggested exercises for participating states to adopt and use.
The three current working groups are:

  • Nuclear Forensics: Chaired by Australia, this working group is developing best practices in nuclear forensics, assisting states in developing core capabilities, and fostering connections between relevant actors in different governments.
  • Response and Mitigation: Chaired by Morocco, this working group is examining and sharing best practices and techniques for responding to a radiological or nuclear terrorist incident.
  • Nuclear Detection: Chaired by Finland, this working group is building national detection capabilities and providing guidance on detection.

Additional working groups can be created by the GICNT member states.
In total, the GICNT members have held over 80 workshops or exercises in 30 countries. Any participating state can host an activity or workshop by coordinating with the IAG. Since it was created in 2006, there has been a plenary meeting every 1-2 years. The most recent plenary was hosted by the Netherlands in June 2016. The chairman’s summary from the meeting identified radioactive source security as a priority area for future focus and highlighted the importance of regionally-based exercises and workshops.
Since 2006, GICNT membership has grown to 86 states. Any state that endorses the statement of principles can join the initiative. Five international organizations are official observers of the initiative; the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research institute, INTERPOL, and the European Union.
The GICNT was also designated as one of the five successors to the Nuclear Security Summit agenda. At the final summit in April 2016, participating leaders endorsed action plans for each of the five initiatives to carry on the work of the summit process. The GICNT’s action plan included a range of activities to build capacity, host additional exercises, and promote cooperation with observer organizations.



  • Create new working groups focused on preventative actions: The existing GICNT working groups are focused on response and detection of a nuclear terrorist or trafficking incident. While these areas certainly are critical in the overarching nuclear security and nonproliferation architecture, the GICNT could put additional focus on creating working groups designed to take preventative action. This could include a focus on radiological source security and disposal, cyber threats, or insider threat mitigation. All of these areas fit within the GICNT’s priorities and additional preventative foci could broaden the appeal of the initiative, given that a dirty bomb attack, for instance, has greater relevance for a wider number of states.


  • Target regional and/or bilateral areas of focus through exercises and activities: At the 2016 plenary meeting, GICNT members recognized the need for more regional action. Given that PSI also targets regions to develop specific counter-proliferation strategies, GICNT could consider aligning capacity building and workshops that support or align with priorities identified by PSI activities. Focusing on detection architecture, for instance, could compliment export control trainings or interdiction exercises.


  • Utilize the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Training and Support Center (NSSC) database for regional trainings: The IAEA’s NSSC network is working on a database of NSSC specialties and capabilities. The GICNT could utilize the network when planning activities to more efficiently use resources or direct trainings and workshops to fill gaps that might be identified by the NSSC’s network.

The Missile Technology Control Regime


The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is a voluntary export control regime that was established in 1987 after emerging concerns about the proliferation of missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads. The United States spearheaded the effort after imposing domestic controls over some materials and technologies relevant to missile development in 1982. The initial membership included the G-7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States), but has since grown to 35 member states.
In 1993 the regime was expanded to include missile systems capable of delivering chemical and biological weapons. The regime generally defines WMD-capable missiles as capable for carrying a 500-kilogram payload over 300 kilometers.
The MTCR member states commit to establishing national export control policies for certain materials and technologies relevant to the development of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, drones, remotely piloted vehicles, and sounding rockets. The materials and technologies are listed in the MTCR annexes and items can be added to or subtracted from the lists based on consensus decisions. The annex is divided into two groups, Category I and Category II. Category I includes complete missiles and rockets, major sub-systems, and production facilities. Specialized materials, technologies, propellants, and sub-components for missiles and rockets comprise Category II.
Potential exports of Category I and II items are to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Under the regime guidelines, “there will be a strong presumption to deny” Category I transfers. MTCR restrictions for Category II exports are less severe, largely because many items in the category have dual uses, and the MTCR is not intended to hamper efforts like space exploration programs that share similar technologies to ballistic missiles.
The MTCR identifies five factors that members should take into account when evaluating a possible export of controlled items: whether the intended recipient is pursuing or has ambitions for acquiring weapons of mass destruction; the purposes and capabilities of the intended recipient’s missile and space programs; the potential contribution the proposed transfer could make to the intended recipient’s development of delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction; the credibility of the intended recipient’s stated purpose for the purchase; and whether the potential transfer conflicts with any multilateral treaty. Catch-all provisions were added in 2003.
Member states are expected to provide notifications to other MTCR members when an export is denied. There is also a no undercut provision is designed to prevent member states from fulfilling an export if that request has been denied by another member state.
States can apply to join the MTCR, and membership is granted on the basis of consensus. Membership expanded dramatically through 1998. Since at time, only three states have been admitted for membership. Several additional states, including China, have committed to adhere to MTCR guidelines, although they are not full members.
The MTCR is credited with hindering the ballistic missile programs in a number of states, including Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, South Africa, South Korea, and Syria.



  • Update Technological Parameters: The MTCR has proven successful at stemming the spread of ballistic missiles in several states, but less successful against the development of cruise missiles and unarmed-aerial vehicles. Continuing to adapt the Annex I and Annex II lists on a regular basis to take into account technologies relevant to these systems, despite the crossover with manned delivery systems, and new technologies could help control the continued spread of such systems.

  • Consider Dropping Consensus Requirements for Procedural Votes: The consensus requirement for decision making, even on procedural votes, can allow one state to hold up decisions such as expanding membership in the MTCR or updating control lists for political reasons. A majority, or vote by two thirds of the members, could be adopted to make decisions in certain areas.

  • Expanded Membership: Key states remain outside of the MTCR regime for a variety of reasons. Possible countries to target could include Pakistan and China (a voluntary adherent to MTCR guidelines since 2004), given that both possess active ballistic missile and cruise missile development programs. A criteria-based approach for membership could make for a more equitable membership process and prevent blocking applications for unrelated political reasons. While increasing membership could make consensus more difficult to achieve, a simultaneous move away from consensus-based decision making on some areas, could neutralize that potential negative implication. Additionally, expanded membership can help universalize the norm against transfers of ballistic missile technologies.

  • Encourage Timely Reporting on Export Denials: According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 65 percent of MTCR members were not fulfilling their obligations for timely reporting export control denials. While this GAO study was conducted in 2002, slow or nonexistent reporting continues. Failure to provide timely information to MTCR partners could hinder attempts to identify patterns of attempts to circumvent export controls. Notifications could be expanded to approvals as well. Sharing information about approvals would allow states to better identify patterns of proliferation concern.

  • Coordination with NSG and PSI: Coordination and information sharing on approvals and denials between the MTCR and NSG could provide more information about illicit trafficking networks and coordinated efforts to circumvent export controls. If illicit trafficking networks and patterns can be sketched out, utilizing information sharing through PSI to provide trainings for targeting and identifying particular types of transactions or geographic areas of trafficking concern could provide a more efficient allocation of resources.

  • Review of National Policies and Authorities: Given the voluntary nature of the MTCR guidelines, states implement obligations to varying degrees. Encouraging all participating states to review of national controls and notification policies could help target areas of poor implementation or noncompliance, or indicate where member states need to update their export control lists.

The Proliferation Security Initiative

**A number of countries participate in this initiative that do not appear on the map. These countries are: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Brunei Darussalam, Dominica, Liechtenstein, Malta, Marshall Islands, San Marino, Singapore, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.


The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) was launched in 2003 as a voluntary initiative designed to disrupt and interdict WMD-related materials, technologies, and means of delivery in transit. The United States led efforts to establish PSI, in part due to the 2002 U.S. National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, which identified strengthening interdictions as an area of focus, and a failed attempt later that year to interdict North Korean scud missiles bound for Yemen on flagless ship.
The United States, along with ten like-minded countries, met several times in 2003 to craft PSI’s Statement of Principles. The final draft, released in September 2003, did not create law or a new organization. Rather, in ascribing to the Statement of Principles, participating states agree to use existing national laws and international authorities to undertake measures unilaterally or in cooperation with other states to interdict suspected proliferation transfers and streamline procedures for sharing information about potential proliferation related shipments with other states.
The PSI is primarily intended to encourage participating countries to take greater advantage of their own existing national laws to intercept threatening trade passing through territories where they have jurisdiction to act. It also focuses on implementation of existing international and domestic legal authorities. The PSI member states are also encouraged to expand their legal authority to interdict shipments by signing bilateral boarding agreements with select countries to secure expedited processes or pre-approval for stopping and searching their ships at sea. In addition to interdicting transfers of proliferation concern, the statement of principles commits states to strengthening national authorities to facilitate interdictions and exchanging information with other states regarding suspect shipments.
PSI members do not meet on a regular basis.The PSI held a high-level meeting at the 10th anniversary in 2013, and a mid-level political meeting in Washington, DC in January 2016. Outside of these events, the Operational Experts Group (OEG), which is comprised of 21 member states, meets periodically to plan exercises, discuss recent activities and interdictions, and share relevant information.
PSI has 105 subscribing states. Membership is open to any member state that endorses the principles. While PSI membership has expanded dramatically, exercises and activities are disproportionately hosted by the original 11 states. The United States, for instance, hosted 11 of the 40 exercises that took place during the first six years of the initiative.



  • Expand Membership: Key states remain outside of PSI. Several of these countries, such as China and Pakistan are known to have supplied technologies for WMD and/or ballistic missile programs in the past. Others key states outside of the regime such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, and South Africa, have important roles as regional leaders or in shipping. Targeting countries with flags of convenience, like Gibraltar, Comoros, and Bremuda, for membership in PSI would also be an important step forward in strengthening the regime.


  • Strengthen National Authorities: States should be encouraged to ratify the 2005 protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA Convention), which allows ships to be boarded, with consent of the flag state, if they are suspected of carrying illicit cargo. Ratification strengthens the legal basis for interdictions, and only 33 countries have acted on 2005 protocol. PSI could encourage members with capacity to help states review and update national authorities to align with international standards.


  • Prioritize Regional Exercises Based on Proliferation Trends: Proliferation risks and illicit trafficking routes vary regionally and by state. Looking toward regionally-focused workshops and exercises driven by a needs-based assessment of domestic capabilities can help target key areas of concern. In 2005, PSI participants began examining steps necessary to develop and share analyses of key proliferation actors, networks, and financing structures. Expanding these analyses from the state level to regional level could help inform exercises.


  • Expand the OEG: Currently the 21-members that comprise the OEG are largely European and North American countries. Argentina is the only South American representative and there are no African countries in the group. Greater geographic diversity could contribute to a more regionally specific exercises and activities. Ratification of the SUA protocol could be a requirement for OEG membership, which would also reinforce and strengthen that convention.


  • Enhance enforcement of and reporting on relevant treaties and obligations: PSI could require all participating countries to enforce relevant UN Security Council resolutions related to preventing WMD-proliferation, such as UNSCR 1540 and restrictions on North Korea. While, as members of the UN, these are binding obligations, a number of countries, including PSI member states, have not reported on implementation of relevant Security Council sanctions measures.


  • Consider a UN Security Council Resolution on Interdictions: Originally the United States encouraged the inclusion of explicit interdiction authority in UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004). At that time some Security Council members opposed the inclusion of interdiction measures and it was eventually dropped. A separate resolution, with clear interdiction authorities, could combat concerns amongst states that are squeamish about the legality of interdictions under international law.


  • Secure dedicated funding: In some countries, including the United States, PSI does not have dedicated funding in the budget to support its activities. Dedicated funding could help ensure continuity of activities and also provide reimbursement for states that detain and interdict vessels to ensure that the cost of compliance with PSI is not overly burdensome.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group

**Malta is also a member of the NSG, but does not appear on the map.


Formalized in 1978 as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the NSG began as meeting of nuclear-supplier states (Canada, France, Japan, West Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States) in 1975 to coordinate stricter regulations on civilian nuclear trade and dual use technologies. The prior year, in 1974, the states identified trigger list of nuclear materials, technologies, and relevant equipment for developing nuclear weapons.
The NSG expanded the original 1974 list, which was consistent with NPT restrictions, to include access to reprocessing and enrichment technologies – the means for creating the fissile material for nuclear warheads. The NSG guidelines also prohibit the third-party transfer of nuclear-related exports and required IAEA safeguards on facilities as a prerequisite for imports. The NSG guidelines are non-binding, but the member states did submit the guidelines to the IAEA in 1978. The guidelines became an IAEA document known as INFICIRC/254.
The Guidelines are comprised of two parts, each of which was created in response to a significant proliferation event that highlighted shortcomings in then-existing export control systems. Part I lists materials and technology designed specifically for nuclear use. These include fissile materials, nuclear reactors and equipment, and reprocessing and enrichment equipment. Part II identifies dual-use goods, which are non-nuclear items with legitimate civilian applications that can also be used to develop weapons. NSG members were motivated to adopt Part II in 1992 after discovering how close Iraq came to realizing its nuclear weapons ambitions by illicitly employing dual-use imports in a covert nuclear weapons program before the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
NSG states are expected to refrain from making exports identical or similar to those denied by other members. States are also suppose to notify other members when they deny an export.
At a May 2004 meeting, NSG members adopted a “catch-all” mechanism, which authorizes members to block any export suspected to be destined to a nuclear weapons program even if the export does not appear on one of the control lists. In 2010 the group revised its guidelines on the transfer for enrichment and reprocessing technologies. Prior to the revision, states were to “exercise restraint” when exporting these technologies. The agreed upon text includes criterial to be considered when deciding and export. Members also agreed to authorize exports of enrichment and reprocessing technologies only if the recipient has an additional protocol to their safeguards agreement in place or a safeguards agreement plus regional accounting and control measures.
States can apply for membership, and new states are accepted on a consensus basis. There is no formal set of criteria that a state must meet prior to bidding for membership. Member states supply materials and technologies covered by the NSG guidelines, commit to adhere to the guidelines, enforce export controls domestically, and are in compliance with the obligations of international nuclear non-proliferation treaties, like the NPT and treaties establishing nuclear-weapon free zones. States also commit to support international efforts to prevent the proliferation of WMDs.
The NSG currently is comprised of 48 members.



  • Adopt Membership Criteria Consistent with International Standards:The NSG could adopt a set of criteria that members must meet in order to apply for admission. That criteria should be based on established norms against nuclear testing and proliferation and supportive of disarmament efforts, export controls, and nuclear security practices.


  • Expand Notifications:Under current NSG guidelines, states are encouraged to notify other members when a request is denied. States are also encouraged to notify the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). However, states are not required to provide notifications of approval. Provision of this information could help member states identify patterns of technology and material acquisition that may be indicative of illicit nuclear activity. Approvals and denials could also be reported systematically to the IAEA, rather than on an ad-hoc basis by participating states.


  • Lifetime Fuel Supply Guidelines:Members that supply nuclear power reactors should consider life-time fuel supply guarantees for reactors sold to countries without enrichment capabilities. Exporting countries should also commit to take back spent fuel for disposition. These steps would remove the justification for countries to pursue domestic enrichment and reprocessing capabilities.


  • Adopt the Additional Protocol as a Precondition for Sale:The NSG guidelines call for IAEA safeguards as a prerequisite for sales of controlled items. The NSG could strengthen the guidelines to require that countries have an additional protocol in place. Expanded IAEA access to information and facilities will help ensure that nuclear programs are peaceful.


  • Coordination with the MTCR:The NSG could share information with the MTCR about denied exports. Coordination between the two bodies could increase the chances of identifying patterns in proliferation behavior or systemic attempts to circumvent export controls.

The Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction


The Global Partnership was formed in 2002 as a Group of Eight (G8) initiative to address “nonproliferation disarmament, counterterrorism, and nuclear safety issues,” after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The initial priorities were focused on Russia and built on the original cooperative threat reduction programs that began after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Global Partnership initial priorities carried over from these programs and included destroying chemical weapons, dismantling nuclear submarines that were decommissioned, fissile material disposition, and engagement with scientists that worked on weapons programs.
When formed in 2002, Global Partnership states pledged 20 billion over 10 years to fund work in these areas in the former Soviet Union. Half of the funding was pledged by the United States. Unlike other initiatives, the Global Partnership serves as a funding initiative that brings resources to bear on specific issues related to counter WMD-proliferation efforts.
At the May 2011 G8 meeting in France the members decided to extend the partnership beyond the original 10-year mandate, expand the priorities, and work on projects outside of the former Soviet Union. The Global Partnership laid the foundation for expanding the scope of work in 2008 at the Hokkaido summit, which recognized that since the risk of WMDs exist worldwide, the partnership will address these issues in “areas where the risks of terrorism and proliferation are greatest.”
To facilitate the expansion in 2012, the Global Partnership formed working groups to target different WMD areas, including biological security, chemical weapons security, implementation of UN Resolution 1540, nuclear and radiological security, membership expansion, and centers of excellence. Projects also extend beyond the Global Partnership’s initial focus on states of the former Soviet Union and often entail partnering with other international organizations to advance common priorities. The global partnership utilizes as ‘matchmaking’ mechanism to pair project requests with donor funding and/or expertise.
The chair of the Global Partnership rotates on a yearly basis on the same schedule as the G8 (now G7 after Russia’s expulsion in 2014). The chair sets the priorities for the year and traditionally complies a yearly report on the partnership’s activities. The Global Partnership is not limited to G7 countries, and is now comprised of 29 states. Membership is extended by invitation.



  • Expand Membership: Given the new areas of focus of the Global Partnership, the initiative should target states that could potentially benefit from or contribute to the Global Partnership expanded agenda. In particular, the Global Partnership should look to invite countries from Africa and Latin American to broaden the geographic scope of participation.

  • Consider Strategic Plans for Working Groups: Given that the chair of the Global Partnership changes every year, a strategic plan that maps out long term priorities might help provide direction to the group’s activities. The initial limited focus on former Soviet areas dissipated after the extension sustained over a nearly a decade make considerable achievements in a core set of issues. While a geographic focus may no longer fit within the Global Partnership’s programming, thematic, goal-oriented strategic plans for the working groups could ensure greater continuity between chair rotations and more systemically address challenges.

  • Evaluate Matchmaking Projects: Matchmaking will likely continue to be an integral part of the Global Partnership. Having operated under this structure for the past several years, the Global Partnership might benefit from an assessment of past projects to guide best practices for future matchmaking projects. Such an evolution might lead to a more efficient allocation of resources.

  • Collaborate with Initiatives like PSI and GICNT: Both PSI and the GICNT create opportunities for member states to review national capacities. The Global Partnership could provide funds or matching services for states that want to enhance their application of legal instruments, require legal assistance to ensure that domestic laws and regulations meet international requirements, or plug technical gaps in areas such as detection architecture. This could be utilized for a range of issues including application of UNSCR 1540 obligations, the CPPNM 2005 Amendment, the SUA Protocol, implementation of Security Council Resolutions on North Korea, or enhancing national forensics labs.