Distinguished Delegates from Member States

Colleagues from CBRN Risk Mitigation and Security Governance Programme

Participant from the UN Family

Colleagues from the Commission and other AU Entities

Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Ambassador Bamkole Adeoye, I wish to start by thinking all of you for taking your time to participate in this two days very important meeting. I take note with gratitude of all the exploratory discussions held which have yielded into a range of conclusions which will sharpen our mutual cooperation and enhanced coordination between the European Union chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centers of Excellence (CoE) Initiative, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and the African Union Commission, on the theme “Working Together for more Safety and Security”. 

Ladies and Gentlemen

I wish to emphases that The African Continent remains seized of matters of CBRN, which dates back to the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). And take great pride in noting that the very First Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU that was held in 1964 adopted a Declaration on the Denuclearization of Africa. It is in pursuance of this decision that the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba) was adopted in 1996.

It is very encouraging that these two days' discussions have established strong areas of partnership and understanding,  this meeting has generated key proposals that the Commission will pursue, these have included the proposed EU intervention which should ensure effective spending of resources for maximum impact and strengthening coordination and communication with the AU, as well as the donor community.

On the other hand, the meeting has also  identified approaches that the AU  can consider; as

  1. Exploring  how we can involve all 54 member states in EU CBRN CoE and benefit from the experiences, network, and activities of the CBRN CoE;
  2. To enhance interoperability between member states when it comes to CBRN prevention, preparedness, detection and response;
  3. And most importantly strengthening coordination mechanisms among national experts and scientists.

The meeting also received concrete feedback participating Member states; which has included:

  1. The need for  AU to designate an entity within the AU system that will act as a counterpart for the CBRN National Focal Points of the member states and help increase the effectiveness (nationally, regionally (RECs), and internationally) of the focal points.  Experiences from the 28 CBRN CoE partner countries can then be shared with the other 26 member states to help them establish coordination mechanisms.

On behalf of the AU Commission, I have also taken note of the valuable contribution from our sister  entities  in the African Union family which have include;

  1. UMA – requesting the  involvement in EU CBRN CoE projects since they see many links with their own activities;
  2. AfCFTA - keen interested in co-organizing a large event to engage all customs organizations of the member states to raise awareness about CBRN risks and discuss a possible collaboration;
  3. AFCONE – proposal  to do a joint side event during the upcoming Summit (with EU CBRN COE);
  4. CISSA - recommendation to  explore possibilities for training of law enforcement/intelligence together with EU CBRN CoE;
  5.  And finally, COMESA’s  - request actively participate in the EU CBRN CoE projects since they see links with their own activities.

The Commission is specifically encouraged of the recommendations which have included:

  1. Deploying economies of effort and ensure collaboration in Africa while Specifically  aligning with to the goals and priorities outlines in the Agenda 2063;
  2. And the fact that all participants recognize that synergies exist between different activities organized at the regional and international level and that better coordination would lead to a better use of limited resources.

Ladies and Gentlemen

I wish to assure you of the commitment of the African Union Commission in working with EU Centre of Excellence Initiative, UNICRI, and other relevant partners in supporting AU Member States the minimize the risks posed by CBRN materials,

Thank you for your kind attention. 

Posted by Abraham Kebede

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