A meeting with the Ethiopian CBRN stakeholders took place in Addis Ababa, on 11 July 2017, within the framework of the European Union (EU) CBRN Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative. The meeting was organized by the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the support of the CBRN Centre of Excellence Regional Secretariat for Eastern and Central Africa (ECA).
This was the first in the series of meetings supported by the Secretariat and its purpose was to re-enforce the CBRN stakeholders’ knowledge of the CBRN CoE methodology and tools available within the programme, as well as to strengthen their understanding of the upcoming CoE projects.
The meeting, hosted by the office of the Minister of Science and Technology, was opened by the State Minister and the Head of Political, Press and Information Section of the EU Delegation to Ethiopia. It was chaired by the National Focal Point and attended by representatives of a number of institutions, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Chemical and Construction Inputs Industry Development Institute; the College of Health Sciences; the Ethiopian Food Medicine and Health Care Administration; the Ethiopian National Defense Forces; the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority; the Federal Attorney General; the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Science and Technology; the Ministry of Transport; the Science and Technology Information Center; the Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital; and the Addis Ababa Science and Technology University.
The welcoming remarks were delivered by H.E. Prof. Afework Kassu, the State Minister, who reiterated the conviction of the Ministry of Science and Technology: changes in the CBRN fields require the concerted efforts of multiple actors. The Ministry’s vision is in perfect agreement with the European Union’s Initiative whose foundation is based on the assumption that lack of harmonized national responses and fragmentation of responsibilities within national, regional or international stakeholders can in fact lead to mediocre results at best, or result in unintended consequences at worst.
The Minister also stated that Ethiopia has to build on its capacity of mitigating natural, accidental, and deliberate misuses of CBRN agents and materials. A very critical aspect in this regard is the promotion of inter-agency collaboration, as the sources and nature of CBRN agents and materials and the associated occupational, natural as well as criminal hazards, point to the need for various actors to work together.
The participants were then greeted by Mr. Sandy Wade, the Head of Political, Press and Information Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Ethiopia who expressed the EU’s commitment to fully support Ethiopia in its CBRN risk mitigation endeavours. Mr. Wade pointed out the importance of having in the national team the representatives with the right expertise drawn from Ministries and agencies which have a stake in CBRN issues. He congratulated Ethiopia for its engagement in the CoE Initiative and greeted fruitful discussions ahead, which are to help Ethiopia reap the full benefits of its participation in the programme.
UNICRI Regional Coordinator for Eastern and Central Africa, Ms. Alma Pintol, informed the participants that the meeting ahead is to provide them with an opportunity to learn more about the capacity building activities made available through the CBRN CoE programme, the network created among 56 partner countries, the current state of CBRN activities in Ethiopia, and the roles of the National Focal Point and of the National Team. They were also to learn about the needs assessment and the methodology on the creation of a National CBRN Action Plan. This was to initiate the conversation on the most urgent CBRN risks to be addressed as a priority. The Regional Coordinator also expressed gratitude for the support and commitment of the Ethiopian authorities.
The National Focal Point and Advisor to the Minister spoke about Ethiopia’s efforts enhance policies, enforce legislation and adopt international instruments to mitigate CBRN risks. He also provided an overview of the past steps of Ethiopia’s involvement with the CoE Initiative and explained the roles of the National Focal Point and of the National Team.
Representatives of the Ethiopian Food Medicine and Health Care Administration and the Ethiopian Radiation Protection Authority spoke about the projects on combating falsified medicines and the support provided to Eastern and Central African Countries in nuclear and radiological security respectively.
On-Site Assistance expert facilitated the discussions on the needs assessment and national action plan methodologies.
The meeting was marked by fruitful discussions between the representatives of the national institutions that attended the meeting. The next envisaged step, agreed on by the participants, is the establishment and formalization of the National CBRN Team.
The EU CBRN CoE Risk Mitigation Initiative involves 56 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 (see section about "Stable Situations"): http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/node/7350