Liberia Sets to Validate CBRN National Action Plan Today

Stakeholders attending the ongoing workshop intended to validate the National Action Plan on mitigating risks-related to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and other explosive (CBRN) Materials

Monrovia – The Liberian Government under the auspices of the European Union is expected to validate the national action plan today, April 10.

Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]

The plan will guide Liberia in mitigating risks-related to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and other explosive (CBRN) Materials.

Today’s validation culminates a three day workshop that brought together CBRN members drawn from cross section of government’s ministries and agencies including the Armed Forces of Liberia, Liberia National Police, the Executive Protection Service  (EPS), Liberia National Fire Service, the Liberia Immigration Services (LIS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

In his opening remarks, the desk-officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for European Affairs and CBRN Focal Poin, Professor Martin Scott Tabi said this year’s CBRN validation exercise brings to an end last year’s strategic action plan for the implementation of ideas to mitigate risks posed by the use and disposal of Chemicals and other materials that tend to threaten environment and people.

The National Action Plan, he said, will be Liberia’s import from line ministries and agencies on the gap identified “so that specific trainings will be tailored by the European Union and its co-sponsors and founders to help support Liberia in its quest to have a concise CBRN society where chemical are known, their locations are known, the chemical in stock are known, its usage is transparent and disposal in line with best practice.” 

Following the validation, people will be trained by the EU and other partners on the careful handling and disposal of chemicals and other biological and radiological materials. 

He noted that Liberia may not be a nuclear country, it is a transit zone for transporters of chemicals and other biological and radiological materials as well as a communication line between ships coming in and anchoring at the country’s ports.

“It will be a good idea if we can catch up with other countries in this regard. This is why we are training the military personnel, police officers and other environmental protection agencies. We are also training representatives from the Ministry of Health so they can know the dual use of the CBRN materials, the importation of the materials, and even the quantity of nuclear materials that enters the country and to know when and how the chemicals are being disposed after usage,” he noted.

Also speaking, the head of Political, Press and Information Section of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, Juan Antonio Frutos Goldaratz noted that the participation of different stakeholders in the preparation of the National Action Plan is valuable.

Prevention, preparedness and crisis response, he noted, are closely inter-linked and require an integrated approach, including the movement and coordination of different stakeholders.

“The National Plan is meant to be the backbone of government’s policy on CBRN issues, making it efficient, effective and sustainable. This plan will be strategic framework to guide the allocation of limited resources to the main challenges and priorities. It will also be a reference to measure progress,” he averred. 

The objective of the initiative launched in 2010, he added, is to support partner countries to develop and strengthen national capacities, internal coordination, and regional and international cooperation in order to address their challenges and reduce risks related to CBRN.

He outlined that there are three levels of assistance to participating countries; stating that the initiative supports the work of a national team, comprised of all relevant stakeholders and coordinated by a national focal person.

At the strategic level, it assists countries in the identification of risks and needs, and the development of a national action plan, through series of workshops, using a specifically developed methodology, while at the operational level, participating countries benefit from several regional capacity-building projects that they develop together.

The initiative is financed by the European Union through the instrument contributing to stability and peace, and implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute. 

Since 2013, Liberia is part of the Centre of Excellence for the countries of the African Atlantic Façade, together with Morocco, where the regional Secretariat is based, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, Cameroon and Gabon. 

As a member of the Center, Liberia is participating in several regional capacity-building projects on issues such as the management of epidemics, the treatment of hazardous waste, risks linked to the chemical industries and to the transportation of dangerous goods or secure information exchange.