This is the first meeting of the Heads of Secretariats that was held online due to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting was opened by senior EU officials and UNICRI Director Ms. Antonia Marie De Meo.
During the meeting, the results of the preparatory meeting of the Heads of the Secretariats, which took place on October 28, 2020, were discussed as well as the support provided to the Partner Countries during the coronavirus pandemic within the framework of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative. Also, the strategic interregional roadmap for 2021 was presented. The roadmap captures the priorities and actions that are relevant to strengthening the Initiative and that will maximize the returns on the capacity and visibility achieved throughout 62 Partner Countries of the Initiative.
The Regional Secretariat for Central Asia, under the auspices of its Head, Mr. Bakhtiyor Gulyamov, Chairman of the State Committee for Industrial Safety of the Republic of Uzbekistan, delivered presentation on the work and achievements of the Regional Secretariat for Central Asia since the previous 7th Annual meeting of the Heads of Secretariat.
In his presentation, Mr. Gulyamov spoke about progress made by the Partner Countries and the Central Asian region as a whole. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Secretariat for Central Asia provided weekly updates on the situation and response to COVID-19 in the Central Asian Partner Countries; conducted monthly COVID-19 interregional webinars jointly with the Regional Secretariat for South-East and Eastern Europe; provided relevant information materials and guidance as well as facilitated provision of the special equipment and supplies to help tackle the COVID-19 crisis. Reference was also made to the procedures for developing CBRN Regional Action Plan for Central Asia, National Action Plans (NAP) for Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia, as well as the completed NAP for Afghanistan, which has been translated into the official languages of the country – Pashto and Dari.
It is also worth noting that the Regional Secretariat for Central Asia initiated and led process of the CoE Charter update to make it responsive to the current situation and structure of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative. Mr. Gulyamov concluded his presentation by outlining the region's plans for the future. The expansion of cooperation in the region, especially with respect to the collaboration with the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as an increase in the interregional activities, in particular with the South-East and Eastern Europe were noted. During the meeting, the participants had the opportunity to share their views and comments on the topics discussed. Despite the restrictions that have been imposed around the world, the Initiative still managed to implement its plans for the current year aimed at capacity building efforts and exchange of experiences in the Partner Countries.
The EU CBRN CoE Initiative is funded by the European Commission and implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC). The European External Action Service is also involved in the follow-up to the initiative. The initiative is 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 initiative involves over 60 countries in eight regions of the world.