The Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP) will act as the branch for a new Center for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (CNND) based at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.

The initiative is targeted at policy makers in the Asia-Pacific region who are trying to minimize the risk of nuclear weapons by stopping their spread or eliminating them altogether. It will bring together 30 former senior political, diplomatic and military leaders from thirteen countries in the region.

The center has been funded for its first two years of operation by the Australian government with support from Switzerland and Slovenia.  It will be headed by former US Assistant-Secretary General Ramesh Thakur, working with an advisory group led by former Australian Foreign Minister and current ANU Chancellor Gareth Evans.

“Reducing the risk of nuclear weapons being used by design, miscalculation or accident, is one of the world’s two or three most urgent and important policy problems,” said Professor Evans.  He added that it is a quest that “cannot begin to succeed without the determined engagement of policy makers in the Asia Pacific region,”

The CNND is expected to convene an international conference in Geneva sometime in 2013 after publication of a report on its conclusions and recommendations.

Since the end of the Cold War, the risk of nuclear war may have diminished but the threat of nuclear ‘incidents’ persists whether from existing nuclear armed states in South Asia or armed states in the Middle East.