MANILA – The Philippines and the European Union co-chaired an ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Workshop on “Raising awareness and promoting ARF cooperation on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) risk mitigation” in Makati City, Metro Manila, on September 9 and 10, 2015. The workshop brought together 75 participants from the ASEAN member states, the European Union, Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand and the USA as well as the from the ASEAN Secretariat, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the World Health Organization and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
During the two days, participants from different government agencies had the opportunity to follow presentations of experts from International Organisations, presented their engagement in CBRN awareness raising and cooperation, exchanged ideas in group works on how to address best CBRN awareness raising and risk mitigation and explored possibilities for an even stronger cooperation in the future.
Since March 2013, the Republic of the Philippines has been hosting the Regional Secretariat for South-East Asia of the European Union (EU) Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CBRN CoE) Initiative. The initiative, which was presented during this ARF Workshop, aims to mitigate CBRN risks of criminal, accidental or natural origin. Through the promotion of a coherent policy, improved coordination and preparedness at national and regional levels and by offering a comprehensive approach covering legal, scientific, enforcement and technical issues. The Regional Secretariat ensures cooperation and coordination in South-East Asia and beyond and is responsible for supporting the identification of CBRN risk mitigation needs, the development of National CBRN Action Plans and the formulation and implementation of regional project proposals. 23 EU funded CBRN CoE projects have been implemented in South-East Asia so far of which 7 are still ongoing. (Eagle News Service/European Union Delegation to the Philippines)