Accra, Republic of Ghana, 27 March 2019.
Funded by the European Union
On 26 and 27 March 2019, the Republic of Ghana hosted the Twelfth Regional Round-Table Meeting for the Eastern and Central Africa National Focal Points within the framework of the European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centres of Excellence (EU CBRN CoE) Initiative.
The Regional Secretariat for Eastern and Central Africa (ECA) Centre of Excellence, in collaboration with the Ghana National Security Council Secretariat, gathered participants from ten regional partner countries.
The meeting participants were welcomed by the National Security Coordinator, Mr. Joshua Kyeremeh, who stated that security concerns with respect to the illegitimate use of CBRN materials keep rising globally and in particular in Africa. One of the key objectives for Ghana, through its involvement in the CBRN CoE Initiative, is to prevent non-state actors from acquiring CBRN materials in order to cause mass casualties.
The Head of ECA Regional Secretariat, Mr. Joseph Maina, congratulated the National Focal Points and their respective national CBRN teams and experts for their commitment, strong involvement and the progressive strides they have made in each partner country.
The Acting UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms. Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, expressed her appreciation to the Government of Ghana for having agreed to host this important meeting in partnership with UNICRI. The Acting Resident Coordinator stated that the risks related to natural and industrial disasters and CBRN waste and transportation, in addition to risks posed by organised crime and terrorism, are issues that all partner countries are grappling with at this moment in time. Ms Lopez-Ekra stressed that an effective strategy to mitigate CBRN risks requires a high level of collaboration and coordination between different national agencies, countries, and regional and international organizations.
The Head of Governance of the EU Delegation to Ghana, Ms. Maria-Luisa Troncoso, mentioned that dangerous CBRN agents and materials continue to be of concern for governments around the world. Through the EU CBRN CoE Initiative, the EU is promoting collaboration at national and regional levels, in order to protect partner countries from the threat of CBRN terrorism. The EU assists partner countries by making available relevant expertise, best practices and training.
The Guest of Honour, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation of the Republic of Ghana, expressed his appreciation to the EU Delegation to Ghana and to the Head of the CBRN Regional Secretariat for sustaining CBRN activities in the country. He also expressed his appreciation to Ghana's National Security Coordinator for his role in the CBRN CoE Initiative, which Ghana joined in December 2013 and which has culminated in this regional round-table meeting in Accra.
The Minister stated that CBRN incidents appear to be increasing in frequency and intensity around the world. The growing likelihood of the criminal use of CBRN agents and materials requires the development and implementation of strategies at national, regional and international levels with a view to strengthening risk mitigation.
The meeting presented a crucial opportunity for the National Focal Points to provide an update on their CBRN risk mitigation efforts, including the implementation of projects, as well as to discuss future actions, revise regional priorities and enhance regional co-operation.
The regional round-table meeting also provided an important opportunity to review the regional priorities which were identified in 2016 and to start working on the formulation of a regional CBRN action plan.
The EU CBRN CoE Risk Mitigation Initiative involves 61 countries in 8 regions of the world, is funded by the European Union and is jointly implemented by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC). The initiative has been developed with the technical support of relevant international and regional organizations, the EU Member States and other stakeholders, through coherent and effective cooperation at the national, regional and international level. The EU CBRN CoE Risk Mitigation Initiative aims at strengthening regional security and safety by sharing good practices and capabilities, by developing guidelines, by identifying and deploying resources to respond to the needs identified by partner countries and by supporting the development of national CBRN policies.
For more information:
CBRN Centres of Excellence website: http://www.cbrn-coe.eu/
European Commission, Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace website: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/fpi/what-we-do/instrument_contributing_to_stability_and_peace_en.htm
UNICRI CBRN Risk Mitigation and Security Governance Programme: http://www.unicri.it/topics/cbrn/