Vientiane, Lao PDR, 6 May 2015.
Funded by the European Union
The first workshop for the preparation of National Action Plan to mitigate Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) risks for Lao PDR took place on 4-5 May 2015. The two-day workshop, which was part of the European Union (EU) Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative, was opened by representatives from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) of Lao PDR, the Delegation of the European Union to Lao PDR, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
The workshop was the first in a series of national workshops of which the overall purpose is to put the national vision for risk mitigation into a national CBRN action plan and to identify priorities for building capacity. The action plan will be designed to ensure that future efforts are incorporated into one coherent approach, thus strengthening national capacities for prevention, detection, preparedness and response to CBRN threats.
The first workshop for the National Action Plan included an overview and discussion of the risk scenarios in each of the areas dealt with – chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear – in addition to a presentation of a Needs Assessment Questionnaire, a key part of the Centres of Excellence methodology. National subject matter experts from Lao PDR worked with their international counterparts to consider the best means of incorporating the identified needs and priorities into the National Action Plan. As part of the methodology of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative, the National Plan then becomes a blueprint through which the country can develop its existing capacity in a number of target areas of CBRN risk mitigation, preparedness and response.
According to His Excellency Houmphane Intharath, Vice Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology the workshop was "very important for identifying the needs and priorities of the country and defining the way-forward." The Vice Minister also mentioned that the meeting was "vital for improving and strengthening the capacity of the sector dealing with CBRN issues in Lao PDR."
The EU CBRN CoE Risk Mitigation Initiative enhances CBRN policies and capabilities by creating a network of regional initiatives to promote and support the development and implementation of national CBRN policies. It aims at strengthening regional security by increasing local ownership, local expertise and long-term sustainability. This includes sharing good practices and capabilities, developing guidelines as well as identifying, collecting, analysing and deploying resources to respond to the needs identified by partner countries. The initiative also facilitates the identification and implementation of projects and ensures that capacity building is part of a coordinated and sustainable approach.
Lao PDR has been part of the EU CBRN CoE initiative since 2010 when the country nominated the Ministry of Science and Technology as the National Focal Point institution. During the past 5 years, Lao PDR participated in 9 regional Round-Table Meetings, hosted more than 20 national meetings related to the establishment of the CBRN CoE network and CBRN CoE Projects (19 projects), and attended more than 30 international events. The country is conducting internal consultations on the establishment of an inter-agency group in charge of different CBRN matters (a structure promoted within the initiative under the name of National CBRN Team). In 2015, Lao PDR conducted the Needs Assessment Questionnaire and joined 2 new CBRN CoE projects, namely Project 46 "Enhancement of CBRN capacities of South East Asia in addressing CBRN risk mitigation concerning CBRN first response, biosafety and biosecurity, awareness raising and legal framework" and Project 47 "EU Outreach programme: Export Control Cooperation in South East Asia."
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 of the initiative. The initiative is developed with the technical support of relevant international and regional organisations, the EU Member States and other stakeholders, through coherent and effective cooperation at the national, regional and international level. The initiative involves 50 countries in 8 regions of the world.
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