The European Union (EU) has chosen the Philippines as its Secretariat for Southeast Asia on its Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Centers of Excellence (COE) Initiative.
The Regional Secretariat was launched yesterday in Malacañang, with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux, and Dr. Jonathan Lucas, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) director, leading the event.
Ledoux said the launch of the regional Secretariat in Southeast Asia is a “milestone” as it will see the development of “a common and coherent risk mitigation policy both at national and regional levels.”
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa called on the public’s cooperation against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.
“The key word in the midst of all these efforts is cooperation. As our world gets smaller, criminal elements have shown that they will not hesitate to cross borders to inflict harm to our citizens,” Ochoa said.
“It becomes imperative for us to work together to improve our capacity to respond to threats of all kinds, particularly CBRN dangers,” he added.
“CBRN threats are not limited to those posed by criminal elements. Countries in our region are also exposed to accidental or natural CBRN threats and the lack of exposure of some nations to these sorts of dangers mean that some countries are better equipped than others to deal with these concerns,” Ochoa said.
The Executive Secretary expressed gratitude to the EU for choosing the Philippines as host to the CBRN Initiative that will take the lead in regional efforts to improve coordination and preparedness in dealing with CBRN threats in Southeast Asia.
The CBRN Initiative addresses regional CBRN needs through projects aimed at strengthening policies, institutional capacity building at both regional and national levels as well as a regional culture of safety and security.
It aims to address criminal risks such as proliferation, theft, sabotage and trafficking; accidental risks, particularly from particular chemical or nuclear sources, waste treatment, and transport; and natural risks such as pandemic diseases.