Conference on Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Centres of Excellence: Statement by Ambassador Berger
(Statement as delivered by Ambassador Berger at the Conference on Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence (CoE) organized by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the European Union (EU))
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me thank our colleagues from the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission and the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) for presenting the important EU Initiative on Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence (CoE). I would like to join previous speakers in expressing our deep appreciation for your relentless work in this regard.
Mitigating CBRN risks is a common global challenge and responsibility. In an age marked by globalization and international terrorism, a lack of security in only one of our countries poses a serious threat to all of us. There can be no doubt about the risks that come with CBRN events. Criminal activities may lead to CBRN proliferation or terrorism. Natural or accidental disasters and pandemic risks add to the already extremely vulnerable situation posed by proliferation threats.
It was against this background that two years ago the European Union decided to launch the CBRN Centres of Excellence Initiative. We are grateful that we have the opportunity today to take stock and inform the broader UN membership about our endeavours. The European External Action Service and the Commission have undertaken remarkable efforts to set up this important initiative. Germany stands ready to further support it.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is no better place than New York to highlight the significance of this initiative. It is very much in line with the principles and targets of the United Nations. I would like to remind us of only two relevant Security Council resolutions in this regard – and there are definitely many more: resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1540 (2004) provide a solid basis for our joint efforts. I understand that a representative of the 1540 Committee is addressing possible ways of cooperation between the Centres of Excellence and the Committee later today. More recently, the Security Council welcomed the establishment of the European Union CBRN Centres of Excellence in its Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2012/14) of 19 April.
At the same time, the CBRN Centres of Excellence Initiative reflects other external cooperation priorities and strategies of the EU. Let me recall that the Centres of Excellence support our approach to dual-use goods where different control regimes (such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group or the Missile Technology Control Regime) aim at enabling trade and the exchange of technology while they simultaneously mitigate proliferation risks.
Since CBRN risk mitigation is a highly complex challenge, we unite our efforts in order to achieve progress to the benefit of all. The Centres of Excellence significantly contribute to making this world a safer place. The EU initiative stands at the crossroads of international security and safety, disaster and emergency preparedness, development and economic cooperation as well as trade policy. Therefore, it is crucial to engage all different types of key players, agencies, organizations and enterprises – state-sponsored or private – many of which are already actively engaged in CBRN risk mitigation in one way or another.
We also see an important role for the New York-based 1540 Committee in this regard, in particular with a view to engaging the private sector. My Government together with the UNODA (Office for Disarmament Affairs) successfully organized a conference of international, regional and sub-regional industry associations at Wiesbaden / Germany in April this year. The conference was both innovative and forward-looking. It was innovative because never before a 1540-related conference has brought together over 25 industry associations representing industry from more than one hundred countries and several thousand private enterprises. The important role of the private sector became very visible. And it was forward-looking because many if not all participants expressed their desire for a follow-up “Wiesbaden process”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Centres of Excellence are being established to help develop an all-hazard CBRN policy at national and regional levels in order to anticipate and effectively respond to existing risks. The Centres implement structural measures that reduce the vulnerability of countries to CBRN-related events. The EU and its member states have acquainted a solid understanding of many different aspects of risk mitigation.
Let me give you one example from the German context. In the field of export control the German licensing agency BAFA (the Federal Office of Economic and Export Control), has maintained cooperation activities on behalf of the EU with countries of various regions for many years now. BAFA remains committed to continuing these cooperation activities. We pay particular importance to involve partner countries and regions on the basis of dialogue. We want to ensure their ownership and priority-setting so that this initiative remains in line with their own needs and demands.
Let me draw your attention to one key element for success. Cooperation and coordination are crucial if we want to avoid duplications. We should do our utmost to create synergies between different initiatives. Also from this angle, it is very useful to bring EU representatives together with the UN, its specialized organizations such as the IAEA or the WHO and governments as well as civil society at this conference. We believe it is equally important to interact with other relevant fora such as the G8 Global Partnership or the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT). Let us continue to work together towards this end.