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The Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention

CBRN National Action Plans: an example of effective inter-agency cooperation

The Hague -

Funded by the European Union

The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) in conjunction with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) organized a side event to The Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention entitled “The CBRN National Action Plans: an Example of Effective Inter-Agency Cooperation,” on 1 December at The Hague, World Forum Convention Centre (Europe Room). The event, which was attended by representatives from over 90 countries, was opened by Mrs. Grace Asirwatham, Deputy Director-General of the OPCW, and Mr. Jacek Bylica, Principal Adviser and Special Envoy for Non-proliferation and Disarmament, Directorate Security Policy and Conflict Prevention of the European External Action Service.

The threat posed by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials and weapons is at the top of the international security agenda. It is also becoming increasingly evident that an effective strategy to mitigate CBRN risks of criminal, accidental or natural origin requires a very high level of co-operation and co-ordination both between different national agencies and among countries and International and Regional Organizations.

A perfect example of such a cooperative holistic approach is the European Union CBRN Centres of Excellence Risk Mitigation (EU CBRN CoE) Initiative, funded by the European Commission and implemented by the UNICRI and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. The Initiative, which started in 2010, is putting in place a framework providing for cooperation and coordination between all levels of government and international partners, notably OPCW, IAEA, BWC ISU, 1540 Committee, WHO and others. The Initiative also facilitates regional cooperation in order to enhance CBRN capabilities. The network it has created currently has 48 partners countries grouped in eight regions, namely: the African Atlantic Façade; Central Asia; Eastern and Central Africa; the Gulf Cooperation Countries; the Middle East; North Africa; South East Asia; and, South East Europe, Southern Caucasus, Moldova and Ukraine.

Within the EU CBRN CoE Initiative, a very important result achieved is the development of countries’ National Actions Plans for CBRN risk mitigation. The CBRN National Action Plan is an essential instrument to identify country’s priorities and areas where capacities need to be enhanced and, in doing so, it provides the basis for the development of targeted projects and facilitates synergies between different response activities and suitable international donors.

This side event to The Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention represented an important opportunity to bring together stakeholders in the international community to present the results achieved within the initiative through the success of the National Action Plans and to discuss the excellent example of international cooperation which exists within the EU CBRN CoE Initiative.

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 Center (JRC). The European External Action Service is also involved in the follow-up of the initiative. The initiative is developed with the technical support of relevant international and regional organisations, the EU Member States and other stakeholders, through coherent and effective cooperation at the national, regional and international level.

For more information:

CBRN Centres of Excellence website:

European Commission, Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace website: