The EU Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) initiative inaugurated its Regional Secretariats for the Middle East and for South East Europe, Southern Caucasus, Moldova and Ukraine this summer. The Secretariats will facilitate information sharing, CBRN need assessment in the partner countries and implementation and monitoring of projects in these regions. In addition, it will promote the regional visibility of the initiative as well as facilitate coordination of CoE activities.
The EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence is an EU sponsored initiative on the reduction of and preparedness against risks related to CBRN materials and agents. The Initiative was launched in 2010 with a budget of € 95 million for four years. In cooperation with the UN’s Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the JRC provides technical support and expertise to the European Commission's Directorate General for Development and Cooperation (DG DEVCO/ EuropeAid) for the implementation of the initiative. A network of CBRN experts has been created and is currently present in 42 non-EU countries in eight regions of the world.
To make the initiative sustainable, a decentralised approach to the initiative has been adopted. Regional Secretariats are being opened across the globe to facilitate and help support the CBRN risk mitigation projects - which currently amount to 30 - and are responsible for coordinating and enhancing cooperation in the respective regions. The JRC has been instrumental in the set up and opening of four regional secretariats now operating in Amman (Middle East), Manila (South East Asia), Rabat (African Atlantic Façade) and Tbilisi (South East Europe, Southern Caucasus, Moldova and Ukraine). An additional four, in Abu Dhabi (Gulf Cooperation Council Countries), Algiers (North Africa), Nairobi (Eastern and Central Africa) and Uzbekistan (Central Asia) are under preparation.
In addition to technical support that JRC provides through activities such as support to partner countries in needs assessment, preparation of terms of reference for selected projects and ensuring quality control of executed projects, the JRC keeps the CoE stakeholders up to date through a secure collaborative web portal and the publication of a quarterly “CBRN CoE Newsletter”. It also ensures coordination with other partners such as the US and IAEA through established Working Groups.