The Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Conference for the Arab Region
Experiences and Best Practices in the European Union and the League of Arab States
An insightful event, offering a deep dive into the challenges, activities, programs, and initiatives related to CBRN risk mitigation, from both safety and security perspectives, took place on May 30-31, 2023, at the League of Arab States (LAS) headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. This event was jointly organized by the European Union (EU), the League of Arab States, and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
Over the past two decades, the threat of terrorist groups acquiring Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) materials has prompted governments and international organizations to implement comprehensive regulations and programs aimed at safeguarding populations from associated risks. Concerns driving these initiatives have been further fueled by well-documented attempts by certain terrorist groups to procure such materials.
CBRN-related risks also stem from natural or accidental events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and other recent epidemics, as well as the unsafe storage and transportation of hazardous chemical substances. These risks have demonstrated profound impacts on our economies and daily lives.
Addressing the safety and security risks associated with CBRN materials demands inter-agency and cross-border cooperation that spans prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Given the transnational nature of CBRN threats, individual countries' efforts may prove insufficient. Regional and trans-regional cooperation is essential to optimize resources required for mitigating the risks linked to CBRN materials.
The event, jointly organized by the EU, LAS, and UNICRI, offered a unique platform to deepen understanding of CBRN risks, raise awareness about national, regional, and international mechanisms for holistic CBRN risk mitigation policies, and showcase the structures, policies, and programs concerning CBRN risk mitigation supported and implemented by the European Union, the Arab Countries and UNICRI. Particular emphasis was placed on the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence, encompassing its activities, mechanisms, challenges, and achievements in this sphere.
This event brought together representatives from multiple Arab countries, EU and UNICRI delegates, as well as representatives from other organizations, including the CBRN on-site assistance experts of the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence. It facilitated in-depth discussions on strengthening coordination, information exchange on current and future programs and initiatives, and sharing relevant practices regarding CBRN risk mitigation policies and activities. The overarching goal was to lay the groundwork for enhanced cooperation, including future steps to fortify collaboration between the EU, LAS, UNICRI, and LAS member states.
It's noteworthy that 14 Arab States are already part of the global community under the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence, comprising 64 partner countries across 8 regions worldwide.