Abu Dhabi, 23 February 2016. The United Arab Emirates will host the first Inter-Arab Nuclear Detection and Response Exercise FALCON, that will take place in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) on 23-25 February 2016, which aims at promoting regional approaches in matters of nuclear detection and response, enhancing national and regional interagency coordination and cooperation, and encouraging information sharing.
This three-day exercise has been developed under the framework of the European Union (EU) Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), in partnership with the United Arab Emirates, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Morocco, the European Commission, and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).
The Exercise FALCON is regionally-oriented and will focus 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.This table-top exercise will include presentations from international experts, scenario based group work and facilitated discussions.
Representatives from the following countries will participate in the event: Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Customs Organization will attend 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, will also attend 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. Since June 2014, when it was established in Abu Dhabi, the Secretariat addresses regional needs by improving the existing CBRN emergency response capacities and by providing training in prevention, preparedness and response.The exercise FALCON is intended to be an initial step in efforts of the CoE in this region, working together with other international institutions such as the IAEA and GICNT, to promote strengthened regional cooperation and capacity-building.
The CBRN CoE is an initiative of the European Union with UNICRI as implementing partner. 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. The Initiative aims to mitigate CBRN risks of criminal, accidental or natural origin. These risks are addressed through a comprehensive approach covering legal, scientific, enforcement and technical issues, and 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 started in 2010 and currently involves 53 countries in 8 different regions of the world. Each of the 8 Secretariats operates within the respective region to promote close cooperation and coordination amongst the partner countries and to facilitate the implementation of projects. Several specific projects are being implemented in the Gulf region and a new regional project on CBRN border security is being developed.
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