The exercise was developed, under the framework of the European Union (EU) Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) Centre of Excellence (CoE) Initiative, by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), in partnership with the United Arab Emirates, the European Commission, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Morocco, and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, EU Chargé d'Affaires a.i Jean-Bernard Bolvin stressed the need for enhanced cooperation to mitigate the risks. "The establishment of Regional Centres of Excellence is precisely trying to achieve this", he said. "It is meant to build and consolidate regional and international networks and partnerships, maximise national and regional capacities and ensure a taylor-made approach as regional needs may differ".
Lt. General Saif Abdullah Al Sha’far, UAE Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior officially launched the exercise along with Sandy Smith, Director of the United Nations Institute for Crime and Justice (UNICRI) and His Highness Al-Sharif Nasser Bin Nasser, Head of the CoE Middle East Secretariat
Exercise FALCON focused on key aspects of nuclear security related to detection and initial response to radiological and nuclear threats with an emphasis on national planning, information-sharing, operational cooperation, and decision-making. The exercise included presentations from international experts, scenario-based group work and facilitated discussions.
Representatives from Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates participated in the event while the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Customs Organization attended the exercise as observers. Leading partner countries from the GICNT, including the United States and Russian Federation Co-Chairs, the Nuclear Detection and Nuclear Forensics Working Group Chairs (Finland and Australia, respectively) and the Netherlands as Implementation and Assessment Group Coordinator also attended as subject matter experts in supporting FALCON.
The exercise is promoted by the EU CBRN CoE Initiative Regional Secretariat in Abu Dhabi, which supports nuclear security capacity building at the national and regional levels. The overall objectives of the Secretariat based in the Gulf Cooperation Countries are to develop comprehensive cross-border cooperation between countries, to establish an inter-agency structure for coordination, as well as to support the development and implementation of a CBRN risk mitigation strategy throughout the region.
- European Commission, Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace website (see section about "Stable Situations"): http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/node/7350