New strategies to counter illicit trafficking of chemical, biological, and bacteriological material
Meeting at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Headquarters

The hague, 17 March 2009. UNICRI and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW, the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention working in close cooperation with the UN system) have organised a one-day international seminar on illicit trafficking of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material (CBRN). The event will take place on Wednesday, 18 March 2009 at the OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.

The UNICRI Director, Mr. Sandro Calvani, will open the seminar together with the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter. Member States and international/regional organisations such as the European Commission, IAEA, EUROPOL and SECI Centre will attend the event, which will feature presentations on OPCW’s expertise in the area of illicit trafficking of chemical material. The agenda will also include a visit to port facilities in nearby Rotterdam to learn about effective counter-measures to prevent illicit trafficking of CBRN material in an international port.  

An effective strategy to prevent the trafficking of CBRN material requires the involvement of different national and international agencies, each of them has a specific mandate and expertise. The synchronisation of these agencies and the coordination of their action is a challenging task. 

To face this problem, UNICRI and OPCW, together with EC, IAEA, WCO and the SECI Center, have developed a Knowledge Management System, which allows States to share information and expertise, disseminate best practices and identify areas of common interest to combat illicit trafficking of CBRN material. “The aim of the Knowledge Management System is to assist States in absorbing countermeasures, encouraging them to develop an organisational learning approach through which States’ experts can learn collectively how to identify problems and solutions by incorporating and adapting experiences made within the system,” said Mr Calvani.

“The issue of multilateralism is of significant importance for the OPCW because in our view, global, regional and national security is impossible without multilateral approaches,” said Ambassador Pfirter. “This seminar, jointly organised with UNICRI, is a visible example of effective cooperation among international organisations to promote non-proliferation standards and arrangements in practice at regional and national levels.”

During the meeting, UNICRI will present and discuss with participating countries and international organisations a new Portal which will be mainly used by national and international experts to communicate their priorities and update their knowledge in the area of CBRN trafficking.

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