ABU DHABI // The UAE has officially signed an agreement with the European Union to open a regional centre to understand and reduce risks of disasters.
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, on Wednesday launched the Centre of Excellence on Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation.
The move establishes Abu Dhabi as host to the organisation’s secretariat for the Arabian Gulf region.
“I reiterate the UAE Government’s keenness and commitment to providing all the requirements of success and leadership to strengthen the preventive aspect and address chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear risks with advanced scientific methods according to international best practices,” Sheikh Saif said at the ceremony.
“The challenges we face today are nothing like challenges we have seen in the past. We are all required to succeed.
“It is no longer an honorary option but rather an obligation towards those communities that are confident in your ability to protect them and address the risks that threaten them, in order to press ahead with progress and the general human prosperity everywhere in the world.”
The collaboration was initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior to “facilitate regional cooperation to enhance CBRN capabilities”.
Experts in CBRN risk will share information with more than 40 other international partners to reduce global threats and examine how best to deal with an attack.
They will monitor export control, illicit trafficking in CBRN materials, border monitoring, safety and security.
Since the global initiative was launched in 2010, the EU has committed €25 million (Dh124.5m) for 32 CBRN risk mitigation projects.
“CBRN risks do not respect borders and the reason for the centre is to be sure we can better identify risk at a national and regional level,” said Maciej Popowski, deputy secretary general of the European External Action Service.
“These activities will take the centre forward and the EU Centre of Excellence will help both of our regions to be more secure. This inauguration is only the start of the process.
“The EU and UAE and other Gulf partners are looking at practical ways to cooperate in relation to CBRN risks. We take each other seriously as partners in this domain.”
Also at the signing was the director of the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, Dr Jonathan Lucas.
“The opening of this regional secretariat in this very prominent region confirms the relevance of the initiative worldwide, and further shows this country’s will to work together towards coherent risk mitigation policy,” Dr Lucas said.
“This brings vital new capacities to this crucial field. The power to transform our world lies in dialogue, mutual trust and cooperation.
“It is our duty to improve and share knowledge and work together to face risks that are not fully predictable and quantifiable. This requires a high level of international cooperation and organisation.
“I am confident that the new secretariat in Abu Dhabi for GCC countries will outstandingly perform in this mission to establish security and mitigate risk. This will lead to freedom from fear of those attacks.”
The site and opening date for the centre has not yet been announced.