Within the framework of the European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centres of Excellence (EU CBRN CoE) Initiative, an online preparatory meeting was organised on 28 October 2020 gathering the Heads and Deputy Heads of the eight Regional Secretariats in the network. The aim of the meeting was to discuss both strategic and organisational aspects of the CBRN CoE Initiative, in preparation for the annual Heads of Secretariat Meeting that will involve representatives from the whole network.
While preparatory meetings were historically organised within one of the eight countries hosting a Regional Secretariat, this event was organised virtually for the first time by the Regional Secretariat for Eastern and Central Africa (ECA). The Head of Secretariat for ECA, Mr. Joseph Maina, Director General of the Kenya Nuclear Regulatory Authority, welcomed his colleagues and the representatives of the European Commission and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Centre (UNICRI), who joined as observers and facilitators, respectively.
Mr. Maina highlighted the importance of continuing the development of the CBRN CoE despite the current travel restrictions that have been imposed across the world, especially since the Initiative addresses capacity-building efforts and sharing of experience that is relevant to the current COVID-19 response. Subsequently, the Head of Secretariat for ECA introduced the topics of discussion for the meeting, which included the strategic Interregional Road Map 2021. The Road Map captures priorities and actions that are relevant for the strengthening of the Initiative and that maximise the returns on the capacity and visibility that have been developed across the 61 partner countries of the Initiative.
The Regional Secretariat for Central Asia (CA), under the auspices of its Head, Mr. Bakhtiyor Gulyamov, Chairman of the State Committee on Industrial Safety of the Republic of Uzbekistan, had taken the initiative to lead the update of the Charter for the CBRN Centres of Excellence Initiative and its Regional Secretariats. During this preparatory meeting, Mr Gulyamov shared an overview of evolution process for this important organisational guideline, last updated in 2013.
Despite the limitations of meeting online instead of in person, the meeting solicited strong engagement. The inclusion of interactive visual tools boosted the ability for the participants to share their views and comments in the limited time available for the online meeting.
The EU CBRN CoE Initiative is funded by the European Commission and implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC). The European External Action Service is also involved in the follow-up to the initiative. The initiative is developed with the technical support of relevant international and regional organizations, the EU Member States, and other stakeholders, through coherent and effective cooperation at the national, regional and international level. The initiative involves over 60 countries in eight regions of the world.