The Regional Secretariat for Eastern and Central Africa (ECA) of the European Union (EU) Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative was inaugurated today in Nairobi.
The Regional Secretariat, which is hosted by the Government of Kenya at the Kenya Nuclear Regulatory Authority (KNRA) at their KASNEB Towers II offices, will offer support to regional governments in reducing and mitigating risks related to incidents of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear origins, whether they are due to criminal, accidental or natural hazards. The centre will also provide materials to strengthen capacities of government agencies in preventing and responding to CBRN incidents throughout the Eastern and Central African region.
The European Union Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Henriette Geiger, who was present at the launch of the Regional Secretariat, noted that the Covid 19 pandemic has shown how vulnerable we all are, to chemical, biological and radiological risks, especially in our increasingly inter-connected world. Ambassador Geiger said: “The European Union is working with partners worldwide, including in the Eastern and Central African region through this establishment, to address this type of threats and risks. Through our centres of excellence initiative, we want to address the current risks as well as set in place a mechanism for responding to future threats. This centre is also geared at addressing longer term risks”.
Mr Stephen Jackson, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Kenya spoke on behalf of UNICRI Director Ms. Antonia Maria De Meo. He said: “The decentralized network of the Centres of Excellence initiative and its country-driven approach is effectively enhancing CBRN risk mitigation worldwide. Today, I commend the Eastern and Central Africa Regional Secretariat for achieving this important milestone. UNICRI is proud to be part of the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence initiative since its start and to work together with key stakeholders and experts in 62 Partner Countries. We thank the European Commission for its leading role and strong support as well as all our partners for their outstanding commitment.”