In a proactive effort to combat the spread of disinformation pertaining to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear issues, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) conducted a comprehensive two-day in-person training session in Astana, Kazakhstan, on September 26-27, 2023, within the framework of EU’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative.
The training brought together 28 national experts, including strategic communication officers from relevant national agencies, CBRN managers/senior officers, and CBRN technical experts. The aim was to bolster their competencies in responding effectively to CBRN disinformation, and equip them with advanced techniques to detect and debunk disinformation. It is worth noting that the training, designed interactively, consisted of expert presentations, as well as individual and group exercises aimed at honing skills and enhancing the ability to address disinformation effectively.
This training represents a vital step in addressing the growing challenge of CBRN disinformation, fostering greater resilience and preparedness among experts in Kazakhstan, and by extension, contributing to global efforts to counter this threat. Combating disinformation is fundamental to safeguarding peace and security worldwide. The EU CBRN CoE, is dedicating significant efforts to conducting capacity-building initiatives in this regard. The first day focused on disinformation techniques and existing technology options to detect false information (such as Artificial Intelligence tools and open-source intelligence), including the advantages and limitations of each solution. The second day of training looked at how best to respond to disinformation, as well as how to communicate about a CBRN event in order to minimize the risk of disinformation.
Participants in the training expressed their appreciation for the knowledge and skills gained during the event, recognizing its pivotal role in enhancing their capacity to respond to CBRN disinformation in their respective roles and entities.
Since 2020, UNICRI has been monitoring the malicious use of social media and analysing existing technology options to detect and debunk false information to understand the advantages and possible challenges of each option in the short and long term. The Institute recently published its findings as part of the Handbook to debunk CBRN disinformation, a practical guide designed for individuals or agencies working in CBRN risk mitigation at different levels and is now providing partner countries with related capacity-building activities.
The EU CBRN CoE Initiative is a global Initiative funded and implemented by the European Union as part of its goal to promote peace, stability and conflict prevention.
The aim of the Initiative is to mitigate risks and strengthen an all-hazards security governance in Partner Countries of the EU following a voluntary and demand-driven approach. The EU support is provided to implement a wide range of CBRN risk mitigation activities including needs and risk assessments, national and regional action plans, capacity building activities, legal framework reviews, table top and real time (including cross-border) field exercises, inter-regional exchange of best practices and lessons learnt.
Funded and implemented through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – Global Europe, the Initiative is led by the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), in close coordination with the European External Action Service (EEAS). The European Commission's 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. Other relevant International and/or Regional Organisations and experts also contribute to the Initiative, which represents the EU’s largest civilian external security programme. The initiative involves 64 countries in eight regions across the world.