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29 September 2016, New York – European Union Statement delivered by Bruno Dupré, Head of Strategic and Defense Sector, Deputy Head of Division at the EEAS, at the High-level Side Event at the United Nations General Assembly entitled “CBRN Risk Mitigation in the context of Combatting Terrorism”

Mr. Chair and distinguished colleagues,

Let me first extend my gratitude to the UN Group of Friends of CBRN, and to UNICRI, for this timely initiative.

The EU is deeply concerned by four major security challenges that all have CBRN dimensions:

– Climate change;
– Terrorism;
– Energy Supply;
– New bio technologies.

Combined together, these security factors may become devastating. Let us imagine, for instance, a bio terrorist attack in a region deeply affected by climate change and by poor condition of living. No one today is able to predict the damaging effects of such a criminal act. The way the international community handled Ebola, Fukushima or chemical weapons in Syria or Libya has led all experts to the following conclusions: no nation, be it in developing regions or in the Western hemisphere, is entirely prepared today to respond efficiently to those threats. Indeed:

– Populations are often ill informed about CBRN risks and emergency procedures;

– Critical infrastructures are not sufficiently protected against CBRN risks, in particular against biological and chemical threats;

– First responders, law enforcement and health communities, often lack specific training in this sensitive field.

This should not come as a surprise. Such conclusions are often made for low probability but high consequence events.

Recognizing the damaging effects of underestimating such events, the EU has decided to take responsibility and act at two levels:

– CBRN is part of the recently adopted EU Global Strategy which will define for the years to come EU political priorities;
– The EU Commission is currently preparing a Communication on CBRN which will be adopted by the end of 2016. This Communication will be followed by Action Plans on prevention, detection and response.
– A NATO-EU statement was adopted by the Heads of State in Warsaw in July 2016 (Statement on Resilience) which explicitly refers to CBRN and cyber as major hybrid threats.

– The EU will spent 500 million euros (2010-2020)on developing, inside and outside Europe, a culture of safety and security on CBRN. We have done it so far with 55 countries. We will expand it tomorrow by reaching out to countries like Iran, Pakistan and Egypt as they have shown some interest in the initiative. Only international cooperation can bring solutions to an issue that knows no frontier.

Talking about international partnership, let me finish on an industrial note. Public-Private Partnership will be a prerequisite in the years to come to improve coordination between the public and private sector, in particular in the research domain. We therefore encourage chemical, pharmaceutical and nuclear companies to participate further to the global EU Centres of Excellence network.

Before turning to Tristan, I would like to tell you that the EU is ready to envisage the very principle of a possible UN resolution on CBRN for next year, as mentioned by certain members of the CBRN Centres of Excellence. We think the time is ripe for such a demarche. The time is certainly ripe to increase universal awareness of CBRN issues and this High Level Side Event does contribute to it.

Thank you Mr Chair.

  • Ref: SP16-002EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum:
  • Date: 29/09/2016

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