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 as well as among Countries and International and Regional Organizations. Lack of harmonization of national preparedness and fragmentation of responsibilities within the regional or international network can reduce effectiveness of prevention strategies and cause delay in response during crisis situation.
Existing international and national strategies acknowledge the importance of developing a comprehensive approach, but tend to have an isolated approach perpetuated by the divisional structuring of chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological sectors. The CBRN issue is often fragmented – with each sector studied in isolation. This is potentially counterproductive because no single organization possesses all necessary resources, expertise and statutory power to address all possible aspects of the problem.
UNICRI supports the development of an integrated CBRN approach that incorporates all international, regional and national CBRN components into a common strategy. This entails the application of a holistic approach through which all stakeholders, while operating autonomously, can establish common goals, identify and manage resources to achieve these goals, clearly allocate responsibilities and tasks, elaborate functioning channels of communication, create a security culture based on common learning, and ensure that lessons learnt are incorporated and absorbed throughout the whole system.
In line with this vision, UNICRI, with the technical support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Implementing Support Unit of the Biological Weapons Convention (ISU BWC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Interpol, Europol and the World Customs Organisation (WCO) launched in 2004 the CBRN Risk Mitigation and Security Governance Programme.
The main objectives of the Programme are: