Improving international cooperation for the detection of illicit CBRN materials
UNICRI's Knowledge Management System

Turin, 14 May 2008. Today, the Security Governance Laboratory of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute kicked off it's Knowledge Management System focusing on the illicit trafficking of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons and materials. Since 2003, UNICRI’s Laboratory has been implementing activities in this area, culminating in the development of the Knowledge Management System.

Illicit trafficking of these materials poses a monumental risk to national and international security. The Knowledge Management System aims at improving the capabilities of states to counter this illicit activity, and has been designed and developed in line with UN strategies.

During the past years, the Laboratory collected data from the 25 participating countries in the Euro-Asian Region, and produced an assessment report and country profiles. This applied research led to the identification of gaps in the standard of information collection and exchange. The Laboratory, in cooperation with the European Commission and the technical support of the IAEA, OPCW, EUROPOL, the SECI Center and WCO is now developing the Knowledge Management System (KMS) in South East Europe and the Caucasus.

The Knowledge Management System has been designed to facilitate the interaction of the national experts and representatives in order to increase the flow of information on CBRN incidents. It also aims to indicate clear national standards of detection which aim to strengthen the capabilities of states in their detection of this illicit activity at borders.

By creating a strong network of communication and information exchange, the system aims to maximize capabilities that already exist in countries.
The Kick-Off Meeting hosted representatives from 10 different countries in South Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Also present were representatives from the European Commission Directorate-General, EUROPOL, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), BSW Implementation Support Unit, the JRC of the European Commission for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Southeast European Cooperation Initiative (SECI) and SANDIA National Laboratories.

UNICRI’s Director, Sandro Calvani said, ‘Today no State can stand alone to face the challenge of terrorism and organized crime involving CBRN materials, regardless of efforts to improve security. Neither can any State make itself immune to this threat. More so than with conventional terrorist attacks, the risks involved with terrorists succeeding just once with a CBRN attack are simply too great for governments not to take all steps possible to prevent this becoming a reality.’

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