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 recently inaugurated in Nairobi. The Regional Secretariat is hosted by the Government of Kenya, through the Kenya Nuclear Regulatory Authority (KNRA) at their KASNEB Towers II offices.

The Secretariat will offer support to regional governments in reducing and mitigating risks related to incidents of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear origins. This is 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 Initiative is led by the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instrument (FPI), in close coordination with the European External Action Service (EEAS). The European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) provides technical support to Partner Countries, while the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) ensures a coherent and effective national, regional and international cooperation.

To facilitate the coordination of activities, the exchange of experience and the implementation of projects, the partner countries are clustered around eight Regional Secretariats. The Regional Secretariats are located in Nairobi (Kenya), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Algiers (Algeria), Amman (Jordan), Manila (Philippines), Rabat (Morocco), Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and Tbilisi (Georgia).

Speaking at the launch of the Regional Secretariat, the European Union Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Henriette Geiger commented, “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.”

On his part, Mr. Stephen Jackson, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Kenya speaking on behalf of UNICRI Director Ms. Antonia Maria De Meo 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.”