On 14 October 2020 the Steering Committee of the EU CBRN CoE Project 60 convened its 8th meeting to review the remaining elements for the completion of the initial objectives and to consider the conduct of some activities, that can be performed remotely, under the enduring pandemic conditions.
Silvia Bottone, EC DEVCO Program Manager, welcomed the resilience of the CoE network that allowed Project 60 to make progress despite the challenging pandemic conditions and travel restrictions. She emphasized that countering the illicit trafficking of radioactive material – which is the core objective of the Project’s second stage – requires further improvement of the regional collaboration among the participating countries.
ISTC ED David Cleave noted that the Project continues to be the flagship of EU activities on nuclear security in Africa. It accumulated experiences that deserve sharing and multiplying. The upcoming Review Conference of the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material offers an opportunity for that.
Bojan TOMIC, Principal Consultant, ENCO, echoed that notion. He reminded that the initial P-60 Work plan comprised a workshop dedicated to the achieved regulatory improvements. Under the prevailing circumstances an online workshop could be organized to be followed by other online events in each participating country to disseminate the P-60 results more broadly.
Participants in the SC meeting exchanged views over topics ranging from safe and secure management of radioactive material to RN emergency response plans and preparedness. Several national representatives of countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Seychelles, Uganda, and others pointed out that the assistance Project 60 provided in regulatory matters was timely, as it coincided with the overviews of specific regulations or of the entire applicable legal framework in their respective countries. New and challenging topics for discussion included: training courses, tabletop and field exercises and simulations of inspections for security inspectors and for license holders; identification and test of PC’s equipment for border crossing points and mobile teams; etc.
Pascal Munyangabe, National Focal Point of Rwanda, expressed the opinion of many participants by stating that “the COVID may just interfere but will not stop us from continuing the efforts to implement activities in the mode that is going to be possible”. The P-60 Steering Committee decided to apply flexible and combined approach in implementation, combining on line events, and activities on the ground whenever and wherever conditions will be safe and favorable.