Discussion Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Beyond Nuclear Summitry: The Role of the IAEA in Nuclear Security Diplomacy After 2016

| March 11, 2014

Since it became apparent that the nuclear security summits are likely to end with a final meeting in Washington DC in 2016 there has been much speculation―but little detailed analysis―as to what might replace them. One candidate touted as a suitable inheritor of the summits’ mantle is the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This discussion paper examines whether and how the IAEA could and should do so, what form its role might take, and how the Agency and the summiteers might prepare for such an eventuality. The paper begins by examining the evolving roles of both the summits and the IAEA in nuclear security diplomacy. In this light it investigates the extent to which the IAEA could, given its current resources and approaches, emulate the innovative aspects of the summits, or take over at least some of their functions. The paper concludes with recommendations for the summiteers and the IAEA in preparing for such outcomes.

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For Academic Citation: Findlay, Trevor. “Beyond Nuclear Summitry: The Role of the IAEA in Nuclear Security Diplomacy After 2016.” Discussion Paper, 2014-02, Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center, March 11, 2014.