For example, both the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) carry out an extensive portfolio of activities that seek to engage different professional communities with the norms of chemical and nuclear safety, security, non-proliferation, and disarmament at a global level. By contrast, there is no designated international authority for the prohibition of biological and toxin weapons and several international agencies are active in the field of biological threat reduction and strengthening ‘One Health’ security.
The Catalogue has been developed using publicly available sources. The Catalogue is intended as an indicative but not exhaustive resource. Would you like to recommend a practice to be added to the Catalogue? Please contact us.
International Framework for Response to Deliberate Biological Events
In the absence of a lead agency bearing the overall responsibility for response to possible attacks involving biological or toxin weapons, efforts to enhance international coordination and cooperation have focused on strengthening the mechanism for preparedness and assistance under Article VII of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). Under this Article, States Parties to Convention can request and receive assistance in case they have been exposed to the use of biological weapons. The resultant International Bio-Emergency Management Framework for Deliberate Events (BEMF) developed by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) aims to contribute to a harmonised response among international organisations in the event of a deliberate disease outbreak, and to provide a framework for dialogue and cooperation among them. It describes existing response and coordination mechanisms within international organisations operating in the human, animal and plant health sectors. The framework also covers the possible humanitarian implications of a deliberate disease outbreak, and the related humanitarian response mechanisms.
BEMF has been developed in consultation with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and its study on strengthening interagency interoperability and communication in case of a biological or chemical attack which seeks to promote enhanced support to States, upon request, with their response efforts when local capacities are overwhelmed or when specialised expertise (C/BW protection, investigation, etc.) might be needed from different international agencies. The study framework brings together nineteen agencies consisting of UN offices, agencies and other international organisations, including humanitarian agencies that have mandates related to the countering of deliberate misuse of biological and chemical agents and toxins. Without necessarily creating new inter-agency response mechanisms, the UNOCT framework is intended to demonstrate how best to make use of the existing ones and how to fill gaps that prevent agencies from operating effectively together, including as regards external communication in crisis situations. It builds upon the work of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (UNCTITF) on promoting Interagency Coordination in the Event of a Terrorist Attack Using Chemical or Biological Weapons or Materials.
Strengthening the Health-Security Interface for Countering Biological Threats
The Rhino Project led by the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) focuses on the need for multi-agency collaboration and continuous training as requirements for strengthening the capacity of member countries to implement effective measures to control large epidemic outbreaks and adequately ensure public safety. As part of this project, an awareness video has been produced, highlighting the importance of cooperation and coordination between law enforcement and health services and showing some of the roles of law enforcement services in response to an outbreak. The video underscores the value of the key interagency principles of partnership, coordination and protection.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO), and INTERPOL are partnering with countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South-East Asia to tackle gaps in various aspects of emergency management that may make countries vulnerable to agro-crime and agro-terrorism. The Building Resilience against Agro-Terrorism and Agro-Crime initiative comprises an integrated set of activities on how to design, deliver and learn from a simulation exercise, how to write a contingency plan, and how to command and control the situation during an agro-terrorism event. The goal of these activities is to test the implementation of emergency management concepts and strengthen cross-sectorial cooperation between law enforcement and veterinary professionals. The initiative fits within the OIE Biological Threat Reduction Strategy which integrates the principles of One Health with an all-hazard approach for preventing and countering disease threats regardless of their origins – whether naturally occurring, or resulting from accidents or deliberate misuse. To assist stakeholders with the Strategy implementation, the OIE has published Guidelines for Investigation of Suspicious Biological Events and Guidelines for Simulation Exercises. Both sets of Guidelines recognise the importance of promoting and strengthening cross-sectorial cooperation for countering biological threats and seek to highlight possible opportunities and options for fostering effective synergies, continuous dialogue, and a common understanding of risks among different stakeholders.
Resilient Response 2020 (RERE20) is an online pandemic response war game for European decision-makers and practitioners that was developed and tested in November 2020 within the framework of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE). The war-game is a simulation of an international interdepartmental (cross-sector) epidemic/pandemic event comprising four consecutive turns, each representing a different stage of the pandemic with hybrid influencing factors. The overall goal of the exercise is to enhance the ability of States to manage international cross-sectorial crises. Particular attention is given to promoting collaborative decision-making, communication and coordination among relevant sectors, including civil protection, health care, and the military.
Multi-Sectorial Approaches to Promoting Biosafety and Biosecurity
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have launched an initiative to strengthen the biosecurity and biosafety systems of African Union Member States to comply with the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005), the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540. Supported by the Biosecurity Programme of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Global Affairs Canada’s Weapons Threat Reduction Program, Open Philanthropy Project, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the initiative aims to help protect African countries against the deliberate or accidental release of bacteria, viruses, or other harmful biological agents. A recent report published within the initiative sets out regional priorities in biosafety and biosecurity for the next five years. These include four main areas: (1) Development of regulations for waste management; (2) Identification of priority research areas in Biosafety and Biosecurity; (3) Training; and (4) Establishment/strengthening of national biosafety and biosecurity Technical Working Groups.
The Middle East and North Africa Community of Practice for Biological and Chemical Safety and Security – MENA Bio-Chem COMPASS – aims to promote interactions among regional and international experts working in biological and chemical safety and security, whether in diagnostic, industrial, or research settings, in laboratories or the field. The community of practice is action-oriented and focused on engaging scientists and educators who actively promote biological and/or chemical risk mitigation strategies in their institutions, within their professional networks, and with scientists in other institutions nationally, regionally, and internationally. The MENA BIO-Chem COMPASS is supported by an interactive online platform that facilitates communication, collaborative activities, and information sharing among participants.
The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) is a partnership of countries, international agencies, and non-governmental organisations, including commercial companies that aims to leverage resources and expertise for strengthening global and national capacities for disease prevention, detection, preparedness, and response. The GHSA activities are grouped in action packages, one of which focuses on advancing biosafety and biosecurity in support of the International Health Regulations (IHRs), Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540). The Action Package features a monthly Community Corner which pulls together information and resources of relevance to biosafety and biosecurity stakeholders, including updates on upcoming events and recent actions.
The International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA) is an international non-governmental organisation which brings together a range of life science stakeholders from public and private sectors to strengthen the prevention and countering of biological risks, regardless of whether these arise from naturally occurring disease threats, accidents, or deliberate misuse. IFBA is made up of national and regional biosafety and biosecurity associations, as well as different observer organisations representing academia, private industry, and funding bodies. IFBA’s approach focuses on equity-based capacity building through mentorship, professional certification, and recognition of excellence.
The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition is an educational initiative that seeks to foster the responsible use of synthetic biology for addressing social, economic, and environmental challenges. The iGEM Safety and Security Programme aims to sensitise competing students to the process of identifying and managing safety and security risks that may arise during research and innovation. The Human Practices Programme aims to encourage reflection on the broader impacts of synthetic biology projects and the role of scientists in society. As such, it offers a framework for promoting stakeholder engagement and continuous interaction between iGEM teams, industry, policy-makers, and the general public.
Network of Networks for Strengthening Disease Surveillance and Control
The Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO), a consultative body of the World Health Organisation (WHO) held its first meeting in late November 2021. SAGO will provide technical advice to WHO in several areas including the development of a global framework to define and guide studies into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential and the prioritisation of relevant studies and field investigations. SAGO comprises independent scientific experts from around the world. The rapid emergence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 have highlighted the importance of being prepared for any future event, being able to identify novel pathogens early, and addressing the risk factors that contribute to their emergence and spread. In May 2020, the World Health Assembly, through resolution WHA73.1, requested the Director-General of the WHO to continue to work closely with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and countries, as part of the One Health approach, to identify the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the route of introduction to the human population.
The Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) Initiative is an international multi-agency partnership that seeks to enhance interactions between science, policymakers, and society by promoting collaboration to identify risks and address outbreaks of diseases that pass from animals to humans, with the goal of ensuring universal access to solutions. It further aims to promote the use of nuclear and nuclear-derived techniques for investigating, detecting, preventing, and containing outbreaks of zoonotic diseases. Under the ZODIAC Initiative, the Member States of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can benefit from the expertise of the joint laboratories of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and from cooperation with partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) under the One Health approach. ZODIAC places research, development, and innovation at its core. The outcomes of the efforts undertaken by the IAEA in cooperation with its partners, using immunological, molecular, nuclear, and isotopic techniques are to be immediately made available to institutions participating in ZODIAC.
The Tripartite Joint Risk Assessment Operational Tool (JRA OT) developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (UN FAO) seeks to contribute to the prevention, detection, and countering of zoonotic diseases. This Operational Tool is intended for staff from national ministries responsible for human health, animal health, and the environment, or other government agencies involved in the control and management of zoonotic diseases, in particular epidemiologists, with close involvement of laboratory staff, risk managers, and communication officers. The Operational Tool presents the principles of JRA and provides step-by-step guidance on how to set up a joint qualitative risk assessment process.
The One Health High-Level Expert Panel is a cross-sectoral advisory body that seeks to inform the efforts of the World Health Organisation, World Organisation for Animal Health, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, and the United Nations Environment Programme to develop a long-term global plan of action to avert outbreaks of zoonotic disease. Key first steps in the work of the Panel include systematic analyses of scientific knowledge about the factors that lead to transmission of a disease from animal to human and vice versa; development of risk assessment and surveillance frameworks; identification of capacity gaps as well as agreement on good practices to prevent and prepare for zoonotic outbreaks. The panel also considers the impact of human activity on the environment and wildlife habitats. Critical areas include food production and distribution; urbanization and infrastructure development; international travel and trade; activities that lead to biodiversity loss and climate change; and those that put increased pressure on the natural resource base – all of which can lead to the emergence of zoonotic diseases.
The Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources (EIOS) initiative is a unique collaboration between various public health stakeholders around the globe. It brings together new and existing initiatives, networks and systems to strengthen the early detection, verification, assessment, and communication of public health threats using publicly available information. The EIOS initiative establishes a community of practice for public health intelligence (PHI) that includes the Member States of the World Health Organisation, international organisations, research institutes and other partners and collaborators. It is aimed at consolidating a wide array of endeavours and platforms to build a strong PHI community supported by robust, harmonised, and standardised PHI systems and frameworks across organisations and jurisdictions.
The Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET) is the global network of 75 Field Epidemiology Training Programs that seek to develop, connect, and mobilize a global field epidemiology workforce to strengthen public health systems and advance health security. TEPHINET brings together health practitioners from more than 100 countries around the globe. Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETP) help build capacity in health service agencies. Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programs (FELTPs) and Field Epidemiology Training Programs for Veterinarians (FETPVs) incorporate laboratory and veterinary components as part of their core training curricula.
The Mediterranean and Black Sea Field Epidemiology Training Programme Network to Increase Security in the EU Neighbourhood (MediPIET) is an inter-disciplinary initiative that aims to support capacity building for the prevention and control of natural or man-made biological threats. The MediPIET network is a partnership of eighteen national public health institutions from countries in North Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East. It operates in close collaboration with TEPHINET. The MediPIET network adopts a train-the-trainer approach. Its curriculum covers nine modules, including a designated module on CBRN threats and health security.
The One Health Network for the Prevention of Vector-Borne Diseases around the Mediterranean and Sahel Regions (MediLabSecure) brings together laboratories and public health institutions from 22 countries to promote integrated surveillance of emerging arboviruses. The MediLabSecure network represents a cluster for awareness, risk assessment, monitoring and control of vector-borne diseases. This cluster provides for the interaction of five working groups: Human Virology, Animal Virology, Medical Entomology, Public Health, and Early Warning Tools / Modelling. Each group addresses the core topic through a One Health perspective. The MediLabSecure network operates in close cooperation with the MediPIET network.
Public-Private Partnerships for Health Security
Leading organisations partnered to develop the Global Laboratory Leadership Programme (GLLP) targeting human and animal health laboratories, as well as laboratories with public health impact (environmental, agricultural, food, or chemical laboratories). Partners include the Association of Public Health Laboratories, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, European Centre for Disease Control, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, World Organisation for Animal Health, and World Health Organisation. The goal of the GLLP is to strengthen national laboratory systems across the globe through empowering laboratory leaders and using a One Health approach. The GLLP advances a Laboratory Leadership Competency Framework comprising nine core competencies which include: (1) laboratory system; (2) disease surveillance and outbreak investigation; (3) emergency preparedness, response, and recovery; (4) biosafety and biosecurity; (5) leadership; (6) management; (7) communication; (8) quality management system; and (9) research.
The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) is a partnership of countries, international agencies, and non-governmental organisations, including commercial companies, which aims to leverage resources and expertise for strengthening global and national capacities for disease prevention, detection, preparedness, and response. GHSA priority activities are grouped in Action Packages that seek to advance and strengthen the implementation of the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHRs). GHSA Action Packages cover the technical areas under the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) Framework which enables participating States to develop and enhance the core capacities required under the IHRs.
To facilitate the implementation of international standards for technical animal health and veterinary public health management, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) administers a capacity-building platform for veterinary services – the Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Pathway. The PVS Pathway is a four-stage programme designed to promote the development and enhancement of 45 critical competencies that veterinary services should demonstrate. The PVS Pathway enables OIE Member States to identify gaps and benefit from targeted support in terms of ‘One Health’ operational assistance, legal assistance, training, and fostering sustainable public-private partnerships. To provide countries with a comprehensive and standardised way to evaluate animal disease surveillance systems, including zoonoses, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (UN FAO) has developed the Surveillance Evaluation Tool (SET). SET allows for the evaluation of animal diseases surveillance systems along 90 indicators, divided into 19 categories and 7 areas. SET identifies and prioritises surveillance weaknesses, and brings stakeholders together to develop action plans of high-impact low-cost improvements.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is an innovative global partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations that aims to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable equitable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks. CEPI takes an end-to-end approach, operating as both a funder and a facilitator. The Coalition focuses on vaccine development, licensure, and manufacturing while supporting the efforts of partner organisations in vaccine discovery and delivery.
The Global Health Security (GHS) Index is a flagship civil society initiative that contributes to the process of assessing the health security capabilities of WHO Member States. The GHS Index framework is made up of 140 questions across six thematic domains: (1) prevention; (2) detection and reporting; (3) rapid response; (4) health system; (5) compliance with international norms; and (6) risk environment. Capacities in each domain are evaluated against 34 indicators and 85 sub-indicators, in order to establish the level of countries’ capability to prevent and mitigate epidemics and pandemics. The GHS Index is a partnership project of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHU), and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The GHS Index relies entirely on open-source information.
International Framework for Responding to Chemical Attacks
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) establishes a set of international mechanisms for investigation, assistance, and response in case of alleged use of chemical weapons. States Parties to the Convention can request a challenged inspection in another State Party (Article IX), or to request assistance from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) if there are grounds to suspect that chemical weapons have been used (Article X). The OPCW can support the United Nations Secretary-General’s Mechanism for the Investigation of the Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons (UNSGM) in case of alleged use of chemical weapons occurs on the territory of a non-State Party of the CWC. The OPCW is mandated to provide assistance to State Parties in case of alleged use of chemical use, should they request it. To this end, the OPCW administers a Rapid Response and Assistance Mission (RRAM) comprising technical experts that can be dispatched in an emergency situation.
The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) proposed framework for interagency interoperability and communication in case of a biological or chemical attack brings together nineteen agencies consisting of UN offices, agencies, and other international organisations, including humanitarian agencies that have mandates related to countering the deliberate misuse of biological and chemical agents and toxins. Without necessarily creating new inter-agency response mechanisms, the framework is intended to demonstrate how best to make use of the existing ones and how to fill gaps that prevent agencies from operating effectively together, including as regards external communication in crisis situations. It builds upon the work of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (UNCTITF) on promoting Interagency Coordination in the Event of a Terrorist Attack Using Chemical or Biological Weapons or Materials.
Cross-Sectorial Cooperation for Detecting Chemical Security Threats
The Litmus Project implemented by the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) focuses on the need for strengthening inter-agency cooperation and particularly, providing first responders, whether they are law enforcement, fire and ambulance services, investigators as well as health and environmental authorities, with the skills to detect and help successfully prosecute those involved in planning or preparing a chemical attack. It demonstrates that the lack of communication between agencies, where a failure to exchange crucial information, could lead to an explosive attack for the simple reason of not knowing whom to tell. This unnecessary delay in identifying the criminal or terrorist, and the loss of crucial evidence, significantly decreases a country’s ability to disrupt attacks and prevent the proliferation of chemicals weapons, and fatalities. To sensitise relevant stakeholders to identify early warning indicators of chemical attacks in preparation, and how best to report such cases to the appropriate authorities, the Litmus project has developed an awareness-raising video. The video is intended to serve as a starting point for addressing gaps in reporting protocols and establishing points of contact as part of broader efforts to enhance interagency cooperation.
The Chemical Forensics International Technical Working Group (CFITWG) seeks to address gaps in chemical forensic science and capabilities through an international partnership of experts from science, policy, academic, law enforcement, and export-control organisations. Chemical forensics and forensic chemistry encompass the application of chemistry, sample collection techniques, analysis methods and tools, and analytical instrumentation to assess crime scenes by gathering and analysing chemical evidence. CFITWG is an ad hoc and voluntary association of practitioners, including policy makers, members of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) designated laboratories network and Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), academic institutions, and the law enforcement community. Key activities include identification of chemical attribution signatures and associated data analytics capabilities and development of forensic tools.
Integrated Approach to Chemical Safety and Security
The OPCW Chemical Safety and Security Management Programme is a capacity building initiative that seeks to facilitate the implementation of approaches and tools for mitigating the risks related to chemical accidents and potential misuse of toxic chemicals, including the threat of terrorism. The Programme is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and designed as a framework for enhancing collaboration among chemistry practitioners, policy makers, National Authorities, and chemical industry associations. It offers training to specialists on practical aspects of chemical safety and security, and forums for experience exchange, dialogue, and stakeholder engagement.
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the principal scientific body in the field of chemistry and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are collaborating to ensure that the knowledge and products of chemistry are used only for peaceful purposes. IUPAC is an observer to the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board, the Organisation’s consultative body which monitors and assesses developments in science and technology of relevance to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Likewise, an OPCW representative serves as an ex officio member of IUPAC’s Committee on Chemistry Education. The OPCW further aims to raise awareness of the international norms against the hostile misuse of chemistry either by States or Non-State actors. The OPCW Advisory Board on Education and Outreach works to identify and recommend viable strategies, tools, and approaches for facilitating the engagement of chemistry practitioners – whether in academic, industry, or government agencies – with the objectives of chemical security.
The Middle East and North Africa Community of Practice for Biological and Chemical Safety and Security – MENA Bio-Chem COMPASS – aims to promote interactions among regional and international experts working in biological and chemical safety and security, whether in diagnostic, industrial, or research settings, in laboratories or the field. The community of practice is action-oriented and focused on engaging scientists and educators who actively promote biological and/or chemical risk mitigation strategies in their institutions, within their professional networks, and with scientists in other institutions nationally, regionally, and internationally. The MENA Bio-Chem COMPASS is supported by an interactive online platform that facilitates communication, collaborative activities, and information sharing among participants.
Industry Engagement with Chemical Safety and Security
The Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has established a cooperation mechanism for facilitating engagement with chemical industry. This mechanism comprises the Chemical Industry Coordination Group (CICG) which is made up of representatives of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA). The work and activities of the CICG are guided by the OPCW-ICCA Joint Steering Committee (JSC) which brings together senior staff of both organisations, including the OPCW Director-General and ICCA Secretary. Collaborative activities between the OPCW and ICCA fall in four broad areas: education and outreach; chemical safety and security; verification; and national implementation and capacity building.
ICCA administers the Responsible Care Programme which is a voluntary initiative of chemical industry aimed at ensuring safe chemicals management and promoting environmental, health, safety, and security performance. National chemical associations, chemical companies, their business partners and ICCA work closely to strengthen and spread the Responsible Care ethic worldwide. The Programme further supports collaboration among the chemical industry, government and local authorities to help facilitate excellent practices in sound chemicals management and sustainable growth in regions around the globe. The Responsible Care Programme comprises a Global Charter supported by a guiding framework for implementation that features milestones and indicators. The framework is intended to assist professional associations and companies that have signed the Charter in applying the principles set out therein in their everyday operations.
Multi-Agency Cooperation for the Sound Management of Chemicals
The Inter-Organisation Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) brings together nine international organisations to promote coordination of the policies and activities, pursued, jointly or separately to achieve the sound management of chemicals in relation to human health and the environment. The IOMC has endorsed the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and collaborates with the Secretariat of the Base, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Secretariat), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on advancing its effective implementation. The IOMC Toolbox is a flagship initiative in this regard. The Internet-based Toolbox for Decision Making in Chemicals Management is a problem-solving tool that enables countries to identify the most appropriate and efficient actions to address specific national problems related to chemicals management.
International Cooperation in Case of a Radiation Emergency
The Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organisations (J-Plan) published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) describes the interagency framework and arrangements of preparedness for and response to a nuclear or radiological emergency irrespective of whether it arises from an accident, natural disaster, negligence, nuclear security event or any other cause. The J-Plan takes into account that besides nuclear installations, there are many other types of facilities and activities that involve the use of radiation or radioactive material for agricultural, industrial, medical, scientific and other purposes. Such facilities and activities include, for example, the production, use, import and export of radiation sources; the transport of radioactive material; and the decommissioning of facilities. The J-Plan emphasises the need for the development, maintenance, and training emergency response arrangements in each participating international organisation. The primary coordination mechanism for the implementation of the J-Plan is the Inter-Agency Committee on the Response to Nuclear Emergency (IACRNE) hosted within the IAEA. The United Nations Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force has issued additional recommendations on interagency coordination in the event of a nuclear or radiological terrorist attack.
Building Partnerships against Nuclear/Radiological Terrorism
Launched in 2006, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) is an ad-hoc multilateral partnership bringing together States and observer international agencies. GICNT aims to enhance global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear terrorism through joint activities that strengthen the plans, policies, procedures, and interoperability of partner nations. GICNT is made up of 89 partner countries and 6 observer organisations. The United States and Russia serve as Co-Chairs of the GICNT, while Morocco leads the Implementation and Assessment Group (IAG) under the guidance of the Co-Chairs. The IAG is charged with implementing GICNT priorities and ensuring that activities are coordinated and complementary to other international efforts. GICNT features three Working Groups. The Nuclear Detection Working Group (NDWG) seeks to develop tangible outcomes and products to raise awareness, transfer knowledge and experience, and provide practical guidance both for detection experts and those with other areas of responsibility (e.g. law enforcement, policy makers, local authorities, universities, and the private sector). The Nuclear Forensics Working Group (NFWG) aims to support efforts to stop and prosecute those who have attempted to transport, possess, or use nuclear and radioactive material without legitimate state control through awareness-raising, developing core capabilities, and conducting joint exercises. The Response and Mitigation Working Group (RMWG) seeks to produce best practices and recommendations for the response to a radiological/nuclear terrorist incident.
INTERPOL Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Unit aims to strengthen the capability and capacity of member countries to prevent, detect, respond to and investigate terrorist and criminal acts involving nuclear and radioactive materials through a multi-agency approach that promotes relationship-building, information sharing, and the development of joint agency response plans. The Cross-Border Operation on Detection, for example, held at international border crossing points provides an opportunity for law enforcement, customs officers, immigration officials, border police and other relevant organisations to apply their knowledge of radiation detection equipment in an operational environment.
Project CONTACT – Enhancing Capacities to Prevent the Trafficking of Radiological and Nuclear Material in the Middle East that is being implemented by UNICRI focuses on intelligence operations to counter radiological and nuclear illicit trafficking. The project aims to highlight the importance of ‘human factor’ in the planning and execution of effective and successful intelligence operations. Within the framework of the project CONTACT, UNICRI is working with countries in the Middle East – Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon – to share good practices and reinforce capabilities to effectively and carefully plan intelligence and law enforcement operations as well as the exchange of information at the national, regional and international level.
Network of Networks for Nuclear Safety and Security
The IAEA Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network (GNSSN) is both a human network and a web platform that promotes the transfer of knowledge from countries with mature nuclear energy programmes to countries that have only just started to embark on such programmes. The GNSSN, as a knowledge network, is part of an integrated IAEA methodology for capacity-building and contributes to enhancing international cooperation and dialogue in the field of nuclear safety and security, as well as harmonising national approaches to nuclear safety and security expertise management. Its main members are information providers and network operators. The GNSSN operates at global, regional, and national level. Global networks support national and international actors in sharing of regulatory knowledge, practices and information and in fostering collaboration on nuclear safety and security matters. Regional networks constitute a forum for the exchange of regulatory experiences and practices among the radiation and nuclear regulatory bodies of a specific region and help strengthen and harmonise radiation protection and the nuclear safety and security regulatory infrastructure of their members. National Nuclear Safety Knowledge Platforms serve both as information reference points and collaboration areas that support communities of practice, working groups, and e-learning. Thematic networks aim to foster the convergence of technical nuclear safety practices and broaden collaboration with other relevant networks and initiatives.
Nuclear Industry Engagement with Nuclear Safety and Security
The New Unit Assistance Working Group (NUAWG) is a collaborative initiative managed by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) which brings together the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and operators from over 50 organisations from across the global nuclear community. NUAWG aims to help countries ensure that nuclear power is developed and deployed safely, securely and sustainably. To this end, in 2020 a new entrant’s guide to the safe and efficient operation of a nuclear power plant operation – Roadmap to Operational Readiness – was published. The Working Group is part of WANO’s New Unit Assistance Service that aims to provide tailored support and guidance to nuclear newcomers, in order to ensure they start up and operate in a safe and reliable manner.
The World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS) is an international non-governmental organisation which works closely with the IAEA on nuclear security issues serving as a bridge between governments, industry, and the broader civil society. WINS works to strengthen the physical protection and security of nuclear materials and facilities worldwide by focusing on nuclear facility operators to improve security quickly and effectively, as well as to develop best practices. To this end, WINS provides capacity building services, including international certification programmes in nuclear security and radioactive source security.
International Frameworks for CBRN Safety and Security Cooperation
The Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction is a G7-led ad-hoc initiative comprising 30 countries and the European Union. The Global Partnership provides a multilateral platform for cooperation and exchange with some twenty international agencies and initiatives active in the area of WMD disarmament and CBRN security. The Global Partnership is structured around four Working Groups. The CBRN Security Working Group aims to support the full and effective implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 by promoting the prevention, detection, and response to all manner of incidents involving weaponised or non-weaponised chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials that can cause significant harm.
The EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative promotes all-hazards security governance. The CoE Initiative comprises a network of 62 Partner Countries grouped in eight Regional Secretariats. The network is coordinated by the European Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). The CoE Initiative provides a flexible framework for engaging stakeholders from both public and private sectors with strengthening CBRN risk mitigation through the delivery of tailored services, including training, policy development, and technology transfer.
Integrated CBRN Safety and Security Capacity Building
The NATO Civil Emergency Planning Civil Protection Group has developed two sets of international guidelines for first responders regarding planning, training, procedure, and equipment for CBRN incidents. The International CBRN Training Curriculum is a guiding document that provides a structure for a knowledge-based curriculum, including pilot training courses for current and prospective first responders. The purpose of such training is to ensure that first responders have a common knowledge base and a minimum level of preparedness when responding to CBRN incidents. Such training is designed to assist nations improve their civil emergency plans, complement national training systems and improve cooperation between first responders. The training programme is underpinned by the assumption that CBRN first responders’ training should be:
- Adaptable and flexible to accommodate different emergency management structures within the nations.
- Optional and used by nations to complement and complete national CBRN training programs as needed.
- Modular and focused on key functions of the immediate or short-term elements of the response. These modules can then be used in various combinations to meet the specific training needs of the nations.
- Dynamic and incorporating lessons learned and best practices from actual incidents.
The Guidelines for First Responders to a CBRN Event aim to establish procedural guidelines for strategic, operational, and tactical planners responsible for CBRN preparedness and response. They are designed to improve multi-agency interoperability in first response to a CBRN incident and provide guidance on when regional, national or international assistance may be required. The response guidelines are presented as a matrix divided into four sections:
- Information gathering, assessment, and dissemination.
- Scene management.
- Saving and protecting life.
- Additional/specialist support.
The MELODY initiative aims to define, develop and deploy a harmonised CBRN training curriculum for first responders and medical staff. The curriculum will be instrumental for promoting a common understanding of key concepts related to CBRN safety and security among practitioners from different sectors, e.g. law enforcement, civil protection, and emergency services, including medical personnel.
The European Network of CBRN Training Centres (eNOTICE) initiative seeks to establish a European network of training, testing, and demonstration centres that promotes capacity building and needs-driven research and innovation for improving CBRN risk preparedness and incident response. In particular, the initiative aims to optimise investments by pooling and sharing resources, expertise, and effective practices and fostering collaborative activities with external partners and other professional networks of CBRN stakeholders. eNOTICE is made up of twelve partner institutions from across Europe.
Practitioners’ Networks for CBRN Safety and Security
The Pan-European Network of Customs Practitioners (PEN-CP) is a partnership of 13 European customs administrations – both EU and non-EU. The PEN-CP network aims to boost innovation by facilitating the translation of customs security research ideas and requirements into scalable and viable solutions, technologies, and process improvements that can help European customs administrations to overcome the challenges which customs and border management security face. Whilst not specifically focusing on CBRN issues, the PEN-CP network is considered pertinent to the strengthening of CBRN security, particularly as regards countering illicit trafficking and smuggling of sensitive materials and dual-use equipment. The network offers an opportunity for enhancing synergies and interoperability with existing European, global and national networks of security practitioners.
The CBRNe-Natech Asian Disaster Risk Initiative (CnADRI) aims to enhance regional security to tackle CBRNe and Natech risks and disasters by increasing national/local expertise and long-term sustainability. It works in partnership with various stakeholders to promote awareness-raising and strengthen national and local capacities for risk management, including for preparedness for, response to, and recovery from CBRNe and Natech (Natural Hazards Triggering Technological Disasters) risks and disasters. CnADRI in collaboration with the International Association for Counter Terrorism and Security Professionals-Centre for Security Studies (IACSP-CSS SEA) and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Multi-Hazards Program.
National Frameworks for Multi-Agency Cooperation in CBRN Safety and Security
CBRN National Action Plans (NAPs) are tools developed within the framework of the EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative. These plans constitute an important element in the process of setting up National CBRN Teams – a multi-agency task force that brings together representatives of different sectors involved in CBRN risk prevention and countering. CBRN NAPs establish a consolidated national strategy for strengthening a country’s capacity to counteract CBRN risks, whether natural, unintended or deliberate in origin. As such, they seek to enable capacity-building projects and facilitate the harmonised implementation of relevant international instruments. CBRN NAPs are developed in three phases which include identification of key CBRN areas of risk; gap analysis and drafting of the NAP; and review and finalisation of the NAP.
Communities of practice (CoP) are groups of subject matter experts who share a common interest in a given area of expertise and work together to facilitate knowledge-sharing and collaboration. In Canada, for example, CBRN CoPs are an essential element of the national safety and security programme. CoP members are experts who work in public safety, emergency management and security domains, including responders, policy-makers, planners, operators, senior decision-makers, and science and technology experts. They include representatives from federal, provincial and municipal departments and agencies, academic institutions, as well as the private sector, including industry and not-for-profit organisations. CBRN CoPs identify domain-specific risks, vulnerabilities and capability gaps, define priorities, and develop practical approaches and steps for enhancing prevention, detection, preparedness, and response capacities.