The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) hosted a training activity on intelligence-led operations to prevent and combat radiological and nuclear (RN) trafficking in Vientiane, capital of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic from 1 to 5 August 2022.
Ten nuclear security practitioners who were nominated by the government to undergo the various phases of the CONTACT training process benefitted from the five-day national train-the-trainer session.
The participants were from different agencies, including the Criminal Investigation, the Fire Prevention and Fighting and the Forensic Police Departments; the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Office; the Department of Scientific Management; the Import-Export Department; the General Department of customs and excise; and the Department of Chemical Substance control; and the Ministry of Defense.
The training comprised of both theoretical frontal lectures and practical exercises to give trainees a comprehensive view of the subject-matter and was tailored to the specific priority issues identified during the assessment phase. The substantial lectures were complemented by methodological segments aimed at enhancing participants’ skills as trainers who are expected to share the knowledge acquired through the training with their peers.
The session aimed to enhance participants’ knowledge of RN materials subject to potential smuggling operations, planning and conducting intelligence and law enforcement operations, as well as radiological crime scene investigation. It was also an opportunity to discuss ways to address some pressing operational and legal gaps, such as the absence of legislation to criminalize RN trafficking.
In the next weeks, UNICRI will support participants, through remote coaching and mentorship, to develop and design national training that is slated for the first quarter of 2023. Some of the trainees will also participate in the first regional peer-to-peer workshop on information-sharing mechanisms, which is tentatively scheduled for November 2022 in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
The training took place within the framework of the “CONTACT – Southeast Asia – Enhancing capacities to prevent the trafficking of RN material in Southeast Asia” and is funded by Global Affairs Canada.
The organization of the event was facilitated by the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) National Focal Point, Ms. Venephet Philathong, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
CONTACT – Southeast Asia aims to enhance capacities of nuclear security stakeholders in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Philippines, and Viet Nam to devise and carry out operations in order to thwart radiological and nuclear (RN) trafficking attempts, as well as to foster regional cooperation and communication among the four partner countries. The project is funded by Global Affairs Canada’s Weapons Threat Reduction Program.