On 15-16 January 2018, a group of European and international experts met with representatives of different ministries to assess Myanmar's needs in improving the safe management of chemicals.
A wide variety of chemicals are used in agriculture, industrial production and mining, research and medicine. While essential for many aspects of modern life, a careful management and handling of chemical substances and their associated wastes are crucial for public health and safety. Accidents, criminal attacks or natural occurrences can lead to an uncontrolled release of chemicals, biological agents or radiological and nuclear material. Such cases can cause serious damage or death to individuals on a large scale. Governments and public institutions therefore need to ensure that effective safety regulations and response mechanisms are in place for the protection of citizens in case of accidents.
The European Union works with partners across the globe to prevent and mitigate risks from the use of chemicals. In 2009 the EU has launched the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative with the aim to build a network of international experts to advise national governments in setting the rules for the safe management of chemicals across all sectors. The EU also supports capacity building and training in CBRN related matters, including first response and CBRN waste management. Eight Regional Secretariats assist governments in assessing individual needs, establishing National CBRN Teams and drafting national CBRN action plans. The Regional Secretariat for South-east Asia is located in Manila, Philippines.
Myanmar's National CBRN Focal Point is Dr. Khin Maung Latt, Director General of Department of Technical Promotion and Coordination in the Union Ministry of Education. Dr Khin Maung Latt hosted the stakeholder meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on 15-16 January.