Experts have called on nations to come up with policies and regulations aimed at strengthening prevention, mitigation and response to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) risks.
The call was made at 10th CBRN National Focal Points and expert’s round-table meeting for Eastern and Central Africa on chemical waste management, held in Kigali.
It brought together policy makers and experts from 11 EAC and central African countries namely; DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Burundi to share insight on CBRN Product Management, Waste Management and Disposal.
The three-day meeting which ended yesterday was organized by the Ministry of Defense in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Ministry of Environment with the support of the CoE (Centres of Excellence)Regional Secretariat for Eastern and Central Africa.
Maj. Pascal Munyangabe , Rwanda Focal Point Coordinator, said the meeting provides an opportunity for the participants to consider CBRN risks, threats and vulnerabilities specific to Rwanda and other partner countries.
“While oil, radiation and chemicals have produced many products that have been beneficial to industrial ,health , and other relevant sectors, there is a degree of risk to human life, public health and the environment if not managed appropriately. In this meeting we will be sharing knowledge on how the products can be used in a manner, that is safe for the persons engaged and for the environment,” he said.
Munyangabe added that though in Rwanda there was no identified cases of chemical dangers, there is need to be prepared for risks management with a focus on community sensitization for people to have knowledge of effective use of CBRN materials.
On the other hand, Joseph Maina, the Head of the Eastern and Central Africa Secretariat, pointed out that CBRN materials are highly needed in the socio-economic sector , however they pose a great risk in the hands of malicious actors.
“There have been several catastrophic CBRN incidents around the world and since the EAC region and Central Africa do not live in isolation, it is appropriate to heighten its preparedness. It demand close co-operation and commitment of partner to have emergency response system for sound CBRN emergency management,” he cautioned.
Alma Pintol, Regional Coordinator of the Eastern and Central Africa CBRN Risk Mitigation and Security Governance Programme /United National office Nairobi, said the initiative aims at strengthening regional security and safety by sharing good practices and capabilities, by developing guidelines, identifying and deploying resources to respond to the needs and by supporting the development of national CBRN policies.
“In this particular meeting, we are going to understand what kinds of gaps and challenges exist in these countries in terms of chemical waste management. We expect the participants to share information on project proposals preparation and implementation, with special focus on the next projects to be implemented in 11 partner countries,” she argued.