The Middle East Next Generation of Arms Control Specialists Network (MENACS) met in August in Prague, Czech Republic, for its annual meeting. The objective of the Network, which was established in 2010, is to develop and nurture indigenous arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament processes and expertise in the Middle East through capacity building, training, regional dialogue, knowledge dissemination, and teaching-by-example. The group includes over 20 emerging experts from the region.
The group is unique in its openness to members from all regional countries, its work around collaborative projects, and its sustainability.
During the August meeting, the group reviewed its past year’s publications and projects, which included:
- A report that identified the building blocks required to negotiate and implement a Middle East free of WMD.
- Strengthening the participation of Middle Eastern delegations in the BWC Review Process.
- The challenges related to the ongoing use of chemical weapons by non-state actors.
The group also set its agenda for the upcoming years and laid out projects to be initiated. Each member introduced new project ideas, and the group is currently working on a compendium of the suggested projects to begin fundraising efforts. Some of the suggested projects include a Model UN-type initiative focusing on the WMDFZME for Middle East undergraduate and graduate students, the future of nuclear security in Middle East post the Nuclear Security Summit process, and a nuclear verification exercise for individuals from the region.