Vientiane (Lao PDR), 13 December 2018.
Funded by the European Union
On 13 December 2018 the Ministry of Science and Technology organised an awareness raising event for national stakeholders on the draft Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) National Action Plan (NAP) of Lao PDR, which has been developed with the support of the European Union (EU) CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative since 2015.
The event was opened by the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, His Excellency Houmphanh Intharath, who welcomed the representatives from the government, the other 9 South East Asian countries, the European Union and the United Nations. Subsequently, His Excellency Ambassador Leo Faber, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lao PDR, commended the national efforts of Lao PDR to develop a NAP. Afterwards, Harro Wittermans, Regional Coordinator for South East Asia of the CBRN Risk Mitigation and Security Governance Programme of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), which implements the CBRN CoE together with the European Commission, highlighted that Lao PDR was one of 6 countries in South East Asia that had decided to design the NAP with the support of the CBRN CoE.
If not properly addressed, risks related to CBRN materials can have serious negative effects on health, the environment, agriculture, security, the economy and society as a whole, and generate repercussions at regional and international levels. Consequently, the awareness raising event aimed to engage national government stakeholders to support and contribute to the finalization of the draft version of the NAP. The key purpose of the NAP is to articulate a national vision for addressing the risks related to CBRN materials, and to identify priorities for strengthening capacities in this area. The NAP facilitates national and international coordination, the identification and implementation of projects and the allocation of responsibilities and resources and ensures that capacity building is part of a coordinated and sustainable approach. It is based on an all-hazards approach that includes risks related to criminal acts (CBRN proliferation, theft, sabotage, illicit trafficking and terrorism), accidental events (industrial accidents, waste treatment and transport incidents) and natural events (infectious disease outbreaks and CBRN releases caused by natural disasters).
The awareness raising event also acknowledged the important work carried out by the Technical CBRN Working Group of Lao PDR under the leadership of the CBRN National Focal Points (NFPs) Mr. Phouthanouthong Xaysombath, Deputy Director General of the Department of Planning and Cooperation, and Ms. Viengsavanh Bouttanavong, Director of International Organization Division, Department of Planning and Cooperation, both under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The awareness raising event followed the 15th Round-Table Meeting of the CBRN National Focal Points for South East Asia held in Vientiane from 11 to 13 December where the 10 CBRN CoE partner countries of the region exchanged experiences and discussed current developments and plans for future activities. It is followed by three other CBRN CoE events in Vientiane, namely the Steering Committee Meeting of the EU CBRN CoE Project 61 entitled “Sound management of chemicals and their associated wastes in South East Asia – SEACHEM” on 14 December and two workshops on industry engagement on export control of dual-use goods, organised by the EU CBRN CoE Project 47, targeting Lao national authorities and Lao industry stakeholders, respectively, from 17 to 18 December. Dual use goods include knowledge or technology that can be used for purposes beneficial to society but also for criminal purposes.
The European Union CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative (EU CBRN CoE)
The EU CBRN CoE is an initiative of the European Union (EU), funded and implemented by the European Commission through its international cooperation Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) in close coordination with the European External Action Service (EEAS). The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and other relevant International/Regional Organisations and regional experts provide their capacity to ensure coherent and effective national, regional and international cooperation. The initiative currently involves 61 partner countries across 8 regions of the world.
For more information:
EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative 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