In the realm of the European Union (EU) Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative, North Macedonia emerges as a dynamic force, actively engaging in the multifaceted landscape of CBRN safety and security. As one of the initiative's active members, North Macedonia has strategically positioned itself as a key contributor to the collective efforts in the South East and Eastern Europe (SEEE) region.
The cornerstone of North Macedonia's commitment is the CBRN National Coordination Body, established in 2012 as an inter-agency national team. Over the course of 11 years in service, this body has diligently crafted the CBRN National Strategy and the National Action Plan (NAP), with the latter reaching its expiration in 2022. Recognising the need for strategic recalibration, the Coordination Body convened in September 2023 to map out the trajectory for the future. This forward-looking approach positions North Macedonia as a trailblazer in aligning national priorities with broader regional objectives.
The pivotal outcome of this consultation was the decision to initiate a comprehensive assessment of the CBRN national needs. The aim was to validate priorities and identify existing gaps in CBRN safety and security, setting the stage for a proactive and strategic approach. The subsequent CBRN Needs Assessment Workshop, held on 14-15 December 2023, witnessed the active participation of 27 members of the CBRN National Coordination Body.
As a result of this workshop, North Macedonia established the skeletal framework for its updated CBRN National Action Plan. Notably, this effort marked a significant stride forward, representing the first time in the SEEE region that a country considered priorities outlined in the CBRN Regional Action Plan. This forward-thinking approach positions North Macedonia as a trailblazer in aligning national priorities with broader regional goals.
With the skeletal framework in place, the next phase involves rigorous collaboration with various national stakeholders to verify priorities. This inclusive process ensures that the National Action Plan reflects the collective wisdom and insights of all relevant entities, fostering a cohesive and holistic approach to CBRN safety and security.
The culmination of this entire process is anticipated in 2024 with the NAP workshop, where the finalised CBRN National Action Plan will be completed and further submitted for government’s approval. This comprehensive approach will serve as a roadmap for North Macedonia, guiding the country's actions in the dynamic landscape of CBRN safety and security.
In essence, North Macedonia's proactive approach to CBRN safety and security goes beyond responding to immediate challenges, it is a strategic and forward-looking endeavour. By actively engaging in the assessment of needs and aligning with regional priorities, North Macedonia exemplifies a commitment to a safer and more secure future. As the nation progresses towards finalizing its National Action Plan in 2024, it sets a commendable example for others in the SEEE region and beyond.
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, tabletop 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 regional organisations and experts also contribute to the Initiative, which, involves 64 countries in 8 regions of the world, represents the EU’s largest civilian external security programme.