The National Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Strategy and its respective Action Plan (NAP) represent an integral part of a country’s national security system. The CBRN NAP contains a list of actions and priorities, specific tasks, timelines to be implemented and respected by the lead agencies in support of other stakeholders within a specified timeframe. For this reason, the entire development process requires a lot of efforts and investment.
The CBRN NAP is one of the principal available tools and mechanisms to partner countries within the framework of the European Union’s CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres Excellence (CoE) Initiative. The EU CBRN CoE Initiative is jointly implemented by the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
In close coordination with the CBRN National Focal Point of Armenia Mr. Ara Mkrtchian, the Regional Secretariat for South East and Eastern Europe (SEEE) conducted a country visit to Yerevan on the 26 January 2022. The country visit, involving also a meeting with Armenia’s CBRN National Team, was organized with the strong support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.
The primary purpose of the visit was to meet with the National CBRN Team and discuss the previous achievements, current developments and future actions. The National Team meeting successfully covered the essential topics on the agenda through the active and lively discussion facilitated by the Regional Coordinator of UNICRI, Mr. Talgat Toleubayev, with the support of colleagues from the JRC and on-site Technical Assistance Key Expert. The highly interactive hybrid format of the meeting allowed for noteworthy and constructive inputs from all participants. Key stakeholders were convened during this visit, which also envisaged bilateral meetings conducted with representatives of international organizations and beneficiary authorities located in Yerevan.
The meeting was attended by 21 government officials and other key stakeholders invited by the CBRN National Focal Point of Armenia. The attendees included the following members of the CBRN National Team: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Emergency Situations; the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority; the Ministry of Environment; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure; and the State Revenue Committee and the National Security Service.
An update was given on the priority actions related to the CBRN Risk Mitigation domain corresponding to the National Action Plan (NAP) working document discussed during the previous NAP Workshop conducted in October 2016. Following this overview, a discussion on the way forward was introduced to re-launch, prepare, and adopt the process of the National CBRN Risk Mitigation Action Plan. The European Commission, Joint Research Center, and the SEEE Regional Secretariat expressed their readiness to provide further support by hiring national experts, and funding and facilitation with respect to the workshops and meetings of the CBRN National Team.
The Armenian CBRN National Team underlined the importance of developing the National CBRN Strategy and Action Plan as part of their next steps. In order to rejuvenate the initial process of development, the CBRN National Team will identify the existing gaps and needs, as well as look at the 2016 CBRN NAP and analyze whether the priorities previously identified remain valid or if they require a revision. Based on these findings, the CBRN National Team will come up with a Roadmap that will facilitate the creation of a new National Action Plan considering the current needs and priorities of Armenia.
The EU CBRN CoE regional project 79 “On-site Technical Support to CBRN CoE in Tbilisi”, provided funding and logistical arrangements for the National Team meeting. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, the meeting was held in a hybrid format to allow a larger number of participants to attend and contribute in-person and virtually. The SEEE Regional Secretariat used the communication platform, which was graciously provided thanks to the cooperation with the EU CBRN CoE Project P53.