Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most active members among 64 partner countries of the European Union’s (EU) Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative. Initially, Bosnia and Herzegovina developed on its own National Action Plan and Action Plans of the Entities for CBRN risks mitigation, which was adopted in 2018 ahead of its expiration on 31 December 2022.
In anticipation of this expiration date, the CBRN National Team in coordination with the CBRN National Focal Point of Bosnia and Herzegovina requested support from the Regional Secretariat for South East and Eastern Europe (SEEE) to prepare an Action Plan on CBRN risk mitigation, that would complement the actions to implement the National Strategy on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Bosnia and Herzegovina’s willingness to harmonize the CBRN National Action Plan in line with the European Union’s (EU) methodology, fits perfectly with the country’s overall movement towards the EU membership.
On the way to achieving these objectives, the CBRN National Team (which consists of representatives from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, and Brčko District), organized a series of internal consultations and coordination meetings in 2022. During these meetings they identified their priorities and agreed on the next steps to achieve these common goals.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC), which assists partner countries in categorizing and documenting national priority areas in CBRN risk mitigation, provided technical support for the completion of the Needs Assessment questionnaire in November 2022. During this process, the 300 questions on CBRN risk mitigation were filled out.
Building upon the results of the needs assessment, the CBRN national team launched the process of drafting the CBRN National Action Plan with the support of the JRC and the On Site Technical Assistance to the EU Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Centres of Excellence Regional Secretariats - P94, which provided a comprehensive technical contribution to the development of the plan and facilitated the logistical support. The first meeting was held in Sarajevo on 29-31 March. Twenty-seven government officials and other national stakeholders attended the workshop. The following government entities (from all competent authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina) were represented: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Security with its agencies (Border Police, State Investigation and Protection Agency, the Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies Protection, the Agency for Forensic Examinations and Expertise, the Sectors for General Order and Border Security, for International Cooperation and European Integrations, and for Protection and Rescue); the Ministry of Defense with the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces; the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations; the Ministry of Civil Affairs; the Ministry of Communications and Transport; the Indirect Taxation Authority; the Food Safety Agency; and the State Regulatory Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety. Other ministries and authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina at Entity and Brčko District level (Ministries of interiors with Police Directorates, and Ministries of Health with Public Health Institutes and Public Safety Department) attended the workshop and facilitated active discussion.
CBRN national experts reached consensus on several priority actions to strengthen CBRN preparedness, response and recovery capabilities and to improve the security culture in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear facilities. The next National Action Plan meeting will be held in Sarajevo at the end of May to finalize details with the relevant National Entities and Brčko District’s level authorities as well as additional actions to be undertaken to mitigate the specific CBRN risks of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the last step before fine-tuning all components and submitting the NAP to the government for approval.