The United Arab Emirates hosted the first Inter-Arab Nuclear Detection and Response Exercise FALCON, that took place in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) on 23-25 February 2016. Aim of the Exercise was to promote regional approaches in matters of nuclear detection and response, enhance national and regional interagency coordination and cooperation, and encourage information sharing.
This three-day exercise was developed under the framework of the European Union (EU) Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), in partnership with the United Arab Emirates, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Morocco, the European Commission, and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).
The Exercise FALCON focused on key aspects of nuclear security related to detection and initial response to radiological and nuclear threats with an emphasis on national planning, information-sharing, operational cooperation, and decision-making. This table-top exercise included presentations from international experts, scenario based group work and facilitated discussions.
Representatives from the following countries participated in the event: Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Customs Organization attended the exercise as observers. Leading partner countries from the GICNT, including the United States and Russian Federation Co-Chairs, the Nuclear Detection and Nuclear Forensics Working Group Chairs (Finland and Australia, respectively) and the Netherlands as Implementation and Assessment Group Coordinator, has also attended as subject matter experts in supporting FALCON.
The exercise was promoted by the EU CBRN CoE Initiative Regional Secretariat in Abu Dhabi, which supports nuclear security capacity building at the national and regional levels. The overall objectives of the Secretariat based in the Gulf Cooperation Countries are to develop comprehensive cross-border cooperation between countries, to establish an inter-agency structure for coordination, as well as to support the development and implementation of a CBRN risk mitigation strategy throughout the region. Since June 2014, when it was established in Abu Dhabi, the Secretariat addresses regional needs by improving the existing CBRN emergency response capacities and by providing training in prevention, preparedness and response.The exercise FALCON is intended to be an initial step in efforts of the CoE in this region, working together with other international institutions such as the IAEA and GICNT, to promote strengthened regional cooperation and capacity-building.
For more information:
- CBRN Centres of Excellence website: http://www.cbrn-coe.eu/
- European Commission, Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace website (see section about "Stable Situations"): http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/node/7350