The eLearning course “EU Non-proliferation and Disarmament” covers all relevant aspects of the EU non-proliferation and disarmament agenda. It aims to provide a comprehensive knowledge resource for practitioners and scholars interested in arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, and EU policies in these fields. The course was designed, developed and launched by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium and funded […]Find out more »
The eLearning course “EU Non-proliferation and Disarmament” covers all relevant aspects of the EU non-proliferation and disarmament agenda.It aims to provide a comprehensive knowledge resource for practitioners and scholars interested in arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, and EU policies in these fields. The course was designed, developed and launched by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium and funded through the EU Council Decision CD 2014/129/CFSP of 10 March 2014. The course consists of 15 Learning Units covering both non-conventional and conventional weapons, and has an optional certificate section. 24 authors from 12 European countries and the EU contributed to the course, which represents an open educational resource for all interested users world-wide.
The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium will support 36 Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Internships in European think tanks between 2018 and 2021 (see COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2018/299 of 26 February 2018). The duration of each internship shall be 3 month (13 weeks). All members of the European network of independent non-proliferation think-tanks are eligible as host institutes for […]Find out more »
The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium will support 36 Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Internships in European think tanks between 2018 and 2021 (see COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2018/299 of 26 February 2018).The duration of each internship shall be 3 month (13 weeks). All members of the European network of independent non-proliferation think-tanks are eligible as host institutes for an EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament internship. For each internship the host institute will be granted 3,000 €. Interns – as a rule – are expected to cover their living and traveling costs by themselves. The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium can provide limited subsidies (500 € / month) for a limited number of students for the duration of the internship. Host institutes for an EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Internship must meet the following requirements:
- Membership in the European network of independent non-proliferation think-tanks
- Availability of office space / working place for intern
- At least one expert specialized in non-proliferation or disarmament affairs and corresponding EU policies
- At least one expert must have teaching / tutoring experience and serve as the general supervisor
Next Generation papers
Credit: UN / Kim Haughton This project includes an annual 2- to 3-day Brussels study visit for the UN Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament, including a seminar with speakers from the Union institutions and experts from the Consortium network, and a field trip to relevant locations. The visit is scheduled to fit into the […]Find out more »
The UN Disarmament Fellows’ Visit to BrusselsOn 12-13 September 2019, the VCDNP organized for the second time a visit to the seat of the European policy organs in Brussels, Belgium, for the participants of the United Nations Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament. During the UN Disarmament Fellowship program, the participants spend about 10 weeks traveling to the centers of international disarmament and non-proliferation affairs, including Geneva, Vienna, The Hague, and New York, to learn more about the work of the international organizations and to gain a better understanding of disarmament and international security issues. The Fellows also visit a number of states, such as Kazakhstan, Japan, and Brazil, upon the invitation of those governments. [caption id="attachment_8426" align="alignnone" width="3988"] The 2019 UN Disarmament Fellows in the European Parliament.[/caption] Prior to Council Decision (CDSP) 2018/299, the Fellows had not visited the European Union institutions in Brussels. As a member of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium (EUNPD Consortium) the VCDNP organises the Brussels visit as mandated by Council Decision (CDSP) 2018/299, in order to introduce the Fellows to the policies and functioning of the European Union (EU). On 12 September, the Fellows started their visit with a tour of the European Parliament, where they got acquainted with the structure and functions of EU’s main institutions and policy-making bodies. Later, at the Flemish Peace Institute, experts from the EUNPD Consortium and Network organizations gave thematic presentations and discussed with the Fellows issues related to export control regimes and EU policies, drivers of disarmament diplomacy, and the future of the non-proliferation regime. [caption id="attachment_8427" align="alignright" width="400"] Mr. Jacek Bylica, Special Envoy for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament[/caption] EUNPD Consortium Chair Dr. Sybille Bauer also provided an overview of the Consortium history, structure, goals, and activities. Director of the NATO Arms Control, Disarmament and WMD Non-Proliferation Centre William Alberque briefed the Fellows on the structure and functions of NATO, the Organization’s activities in arms control and non-proliferation, and cooperation with the EU in these areas. On 13 September, the Disarmament Fellows visited the European External Action Service (EEAS) to learn about the work of European Union’s diplomatic service in various international security areas. Mr. Jacek Bylica, Special Envoy for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, welcomed the Fellows and provided an overview of the EEAS’ history and role in helping implement the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy with regard to arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation matters. Following Ambassador Bylica’s remarks, EEAS, European Council, the Council of the EU, and European Commission experts from different committees and offices discussed with the Fellows a broad range of issues, including the EU’s work on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the EU Joint Research Centre, conventional weapons controls, space policy, and new challenges in cybersecurity. The Fellows also were given the opportunity to visit the Europa Building, the main seat of the European Council and the Council of the EU. During the discussions in Brussels, the Disarmament Fellows asked astute questions and engaged actively in the substantive material presented by all the speakers. The VCDNP would like to extend its gratitude to the Flemish Peace Institute and EEAS for their generous support and cooperation in organizing this visit. [caption id="attachment_8428" align="alignnone" width="3256"] The 2019 UN Disarmament Fellows in the European Council room of the Europa Building.[/caption]
On 19-21 February 2020, the VCDNP held the first course on nuclear non-proliferation for graduate and post-graduate students in the fields of IT and engineering, titled “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: History, Threats and Solutions”. The course represented a joint project between the VCDNP and the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium (EUNPDC), of which the VCDNP is […]Find out more »
The Initiative encourages young women and the next generation to enter the non‑proliferation, arms control, and disarmament field, especially at a time in which the global pandemic has isolated many young people who may find themselves lacking resources and assistance.Find out more »
From 22 to 26 February 2021, the VCDNP held its first intensive introductory course on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) for students of biological and chemical sciences. The course, conducted in an online format, brought together 29 students affiliated with eight European universities as well as universities in Nigeria, the Philippines, and […]Find out more »
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, there are currently few opportunities for the next generation to meet around the world and think together about the great challenges of our times. With these words, Elena Sokova, Executive Director of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP), opened the 2021 EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Next Generation […]Find out more »
The Impact of COVID-19 and other Bio-Security ChallengesThe first topic was addressed by Dr. Filippa Lentzos, Senior Research Fellow at the King’s College London. As pointed by Federica Dall’Arche, Researcher at IAI and moderator of the panel, the topic was particularly timely due to recent discussions on the origin of the virus. In order to reach an assessment of the health and societal impacts caused by COVID-19, Dr. Lentzos walked the participants through an accurate and anguished timeline of the pandemic stressing, in particular, the evolution of the Chinese government’s narrative on the spread of the virus, the role of the World Health Organization and the progressive recognition of the modalities of human-to-human transmission. As the pandemic escalated, however, many questions remain unanswered, according to Dr. Lentzos. The direct impact of the virus on health is still poorly understood and the extent of the indirect and long-term consequences will only fully emerge with time. The enormous socioeconomic effects of the virus, however, are already clear. Dr. Lentzos noted how the virus led to the disappearance of 225 million full-time jobs around the world and has exacerbated long-standing economic, racial and gender divides. Women, in particular, are paying the highest price, comprising 70% of global health and social care personnel. In addition to the consequently increased exposure to risk, women are also victims of what UN Women has called “the shadow pandemic,” i.e. a worrying increase in gender-based violence and domestic violence. The effects of the pandemic still remain at least partially unknown, and this is even more true for its origin. As essential as it is to reconstruct a clear picture of what happened to reduce the risk of the introduction of new viruses to the human population, we still know little about the time, place and causes that led to the break out of COVID-19. “What should have been a routine science question,” Dr. Lentzos argued, “has instead become extremely politically charged.” In early April 2021, a WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 released a study listing four different possibilities on the origins of the outbreak of the pandemic. The first hypothesis listed is that the virus jumped from an animal directly to a human; the second, that the virus jumped from an animal to an intermediate host and then to a human; the third hypothesis is that the virus was imported to China via frozen food; the last hypothesis is that it spread because of a lab leak. While, according to the report, the second theory seems to be the most likely, the joint nature of the report raises significant doubts on its mandate and independence. The lack of adequately grounded evidence to favour one hypothesis over another is also a cause of particular concern, according to Dr. Lentzos. Yet, understanding the origin of COVID-19 would be essential to strategise on how to prepare for future pandemics. Dr. Lentzos concluded her remarks noting that biological threats are not limited to the current pandemic. Among other risks, she included: the potential accidents in biosafety laboratories, noting that many laboratories are currently under-monitored and under-regulated; deliberate biothreats caused by a growing technical capacity to modify pathogen and transfer them to the human body; and biological information warfare possibly targeting specific individuals or groups. Remarkably, the effects of biological information warfare are substantially indifferent from those of real, internationally prohibited biological warfare. This makes disarmament efforts particularly difficult.
Cyber Security and Implications for Non-ProliferationThe relevance of cyber security, as reminded by Mara Zarka, Project/Events Manager and Research Associate at the VCDNP and moderator of the second panel, has recently been brought into the spotlight because of the alleged cyberattack to the Natanz nuclear plant in Iran. Although cybersecurity has been on the policymaking eye for over a decade, these events show that the answers we have come up with still remain largely unsatisfactory. According to Dr. Alexi Drew, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Policy Institute at King’s College London, “most of the cyber issues that we see in international security arise out of a lingering series of misperceptions about what cyber security actually is, and who does it.” The actors involved are indeed changing rapidly with drastic consequences within the arms control arena. What was traditionally negotiated between States and within international institutions, is now addressed in far more complex negations because of the growing role of the so-called cyber emerging technologies. As a consequence, continued Dr. Drew, today private industries are the new predominant group of actors shaping the cybersecurity field, with a variable role left to the States. Remarkably, both private actors and States are increasingly aware of the new balance of power and of who can really set the standards. Cutting-edge technology is no longer directed solely by States’ interests, with enormous consequences on international governance dynamics. In fact, according to Dr. Drew, while technology might seem neutral and apolitical, it is the result of ethical and political choices. The kind of decisions now happening are about the importance of privacy in next generation technologies and algorithms, or about how domestic and international standards should be set. And these standards are increasingly set by private actors. Another crucial and often underestimated aspect of cyber security has to do with supply chains that contribute to creating broader attack surfaces, linking private and public digital infrastructures. However, as Dr. Drew explained, not everything that takes place in the cyber space can or should be considered as a form of warfare. In the large majority of cases, it is about cyber espionage, never intended to cause physical damage. This difference is widespread and yet difficult to explain, since it is incidents such as the one that happened at the Natanz nuclear plant – actually intended to cause physical damage – that make the headlines. The consequent general failure in grasping these nuances between espionage and attacks remains one of the main barriers to effective policymaking on cybersecurity. The key of the instability risk that should be addressed by cybersecurity is indeed the possibility of escalation due to lack of knowledge, resulting from a deliberate policy on the side of both States and institutions involved in a cyber event. For instance, NATO members have never defined the standard beyond which a cyber incident can be considered a full-fledged attack, thus expanding the deterrent potential. However, this makes it hard to establish where the line is and represents a critical risk of escalation or “splash effect.” Dr. Drew concluded her remarks noting that cyber capabilities are rapidly proliferating, both in terms of defence and attack capabilities.
Networking sessionDuring this session, participants were divided in groups and provided with ice-breaking questions. The discussion in the different groups covered both the main pressing challenges to non-proliferation and disarmament as well as ways in which the EUNPDC and its members could do to better engage the next generation and young women in the field.
The European Union’s Role in Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and Its Engagement with Academia and The Younger Generation
On 29 April 2021, as part of the Young Women and Next Generation Initiative (YWNGI), the VCDNP and the International Affairs Institute (IAI) in Rome, Italy, with the support of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium (EUNPDC), organized the second public outreach event focused on the EU and its policies on non-proliferation and disarmament, as well […]Find out more »
- Clear thinking and solid analysis;
- Empathy, in which active listening and really caring was stressed; and
- Creative Problem Solving.
“What also is really important, I think, is to help others not just get a foot in the door but then to help them stay in the field and climb up.” – Sibylle BauerAdding to this list, other panellists emphasized the importance of working in teams, indicating that every role in a team is important and no one role should be perceived as any more or less significant.
“You need a mix of people that have different competences and when you put those together you can be much stronger.” – Marjolijn van DeelenThere was resounding agreement that passion and interest in what one is doing is the best guide to navigating one’s career. Also, the panellists encouraged participants to not be afraid to try new things and to be willing to go into depth on topics that may not fall within their educational background, whether it be more policy-oriented or technical.
“I think passion in what you are doing is the only thing that really counts.” – Federica MogheriniSome highlights from the question-and-answer session include insights into the difficulties in forming a common position in the EU, noting the diversity of the group and the need for fierce, internal debates. Once a common position or statement has been agreed, it serves as an umbrella under which other like-minded countries can align themselves. All speakers stressed that given the divergent views within the EU, when a common position has been adopted, especially on controversial matters, it is a powerful statement that can offer hope to the larger international community and refocus energy on where agreement exists, and action can be taken.
The Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) cordially invites you to attend a virtual event for young professionals and students interested in working at and engaging with international organisations in Vienna, which will be held on Monday, 6 September 2021 from 15:00 to 16:30 Central European Summer Time (CEST) via Zoom. For those unable to access Zoom, the event will […]Find out more »
Registration and QuestionsWe kindly ask you to RSVP using the online registration form. By registering for this event you acknowledge and agree to the VCDNP Responsible & Respectful Behavior Policy.
The International Affairs Institute (IAI) and the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non Proliferation (VCDNP) will organize a virtual event entitled: “Working at International Organizations: Tips and Insights for the Next Generation – the BWC and the OPCW.” The event will be held on Thursday, 31 March 2022 from 3:00 to 4:15 PM (CEST) via […]Find out more »