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Steering Committee Discusses P-60 Implementation, Considers Next Steps

A regular meeting of Project 60 Steering Committee took place in Brussels on 22 June 2018. National Focal Points and radiological and nuclear (RN) experts from P-60 participating countries were joined by representatives of the project’s managing and implementing partners: the European Commission’s DEVCO and Joint Research Center, UNICRI, ISTC, the Secretariat of the CBRN ECA CoE, as well as by representatives of the Consortium, contracted to carry out the project’s trainings, expert missions, consultancies and country reports.

New members of the SC coming from Ethiopia, the Seychelles, Tanzania, and OSA (the on-site assistance facility) were presented and welcomed. Jean-Pierre Bardoul, ICSP and EU CBRN CoE coordinator from the EU Delegation to Kenya pointed out that the meeting offers an excellent opportunity to take stock of the progress made in the Project’s implementation. Kamen Velichkov, P-60 Manager, ISTC, provided an introductory overview, clarified and answered a number of questions related to the project’s duration, to the preparation of country specific reports on management of radioactive sources that takes place during the ENCO experts’ missions, as well as to the assessment of the specific equipment needs of the participating countries - a question of primary importance to them. The ISTC P-60 Manager updated the SC on the use of their access to the inner page of the P-60 website to consult the evolving basic documents of the Project. This would allow the webpage to play its intended role of a web-based communication platform to facilitate regional contacts.

Nicolas Delaunay, P-60 Team leader, ENCO, reviewed task by task the accomplished and ongoing activities, as well as the schedule for the upcoming main events. He presented the results of the kick-off meeting in Addis Ababa (February) and shared information on the 2018 expert missions in Rwanda (19-21 April), Kenya (21-24 May), Ethiopia (11-15 June),  and Seychelles (13-14 June). The attention of the SC was drawn to the upcoming workshops on Legal framework and tools for national source registry and NMAC, and on Development of national response plan for potential radiological or nuclear incidents. The next step will be to proceed with a comprehensive review identifying and analyzing the existing laws, regulations, and standards in the field of management of RN material and radioactive sources. Initial review during the expert missions examines the national capabilities to address safe and secure handling and storage of radiological sources, and orphan sources and seized materials. Nicolas Delaunay debriefed the SC members about the modalities of recruitment of local experts by individual contracts. On the question of procurement of equipment, the Team Leader indicated the tools for gathering information – questionnaires and external sources, determining also if the countries have trained personnel to ensure sustainability. With regard to the Field and Table Top exercises particular attention is paid for the preparation of specific SOPs to ensure safety during the exercises. Upcoming expert missions are planned for Tanzania from 26 to 29 June 2018, Uganda from 2 to 5 July 2018, Malawi during the week 9-13 July 2018, Burundi on 16-17 July 2018, DRC from 18 to 20 July 2018, and Ghana from 23 to 26 July 2018.

On the agenda item Interaction with other activities, Kamen Velichkov, ISTC, debriefed the SC on the state of affairs of the implementation of Project MC 501 15B, of which Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia are active participants. 

Members of the Steering Committee vividly discussed on-going and future activities. As a result, the Steering Committee: ● took note of the decision to extend the duration of the implementation period of Project 60 until the end of March 2020; ● welcomed and approved the inclusion of Ethiopia as a P-60 participating state; ● decided to discuss and adopt Terms of Reference for its functions and requested ISTC to prepare and submit a draft of such guiding document; ● underlined the importance of the delivery of the needed equipment to the participating countries and decided to continue to examine the possibilities in that regard; ● took note of the progress reports by ISTC and by the Consortium, led by ENCO and provided guidance on further reporting and activities; ● accepted the proposal by Zambia to host a public awareness event under Project 60. The Steering Committee took note of the following proposals with regard to training activities: to change the ratio between the trainings and the exercises to be delivered in English language and in French language; to consider the possibility for aggregating some of the training courses into multicounty format; to sustain in principle the equal quotas for participants from each country, while approving the right of the host state to benefit from an enlarged quota.

Joseph Maina, Head of CBRN ECA CoE, provided final remarks, expressing expectations that provision of Project’s reports in advance will allow NFPs to reflect on the contents and to consult their national teams of experts on the topics under scrutiny. He also recommended a milestone approach in the scheduling the SC meetings. A greater degree of risk assessment, timelines about deliverables, and even forecasts will be welcome. The close monitoring of developments in other projects is useful, as illustrated by the report on MC 5/01 15 B. The SC may consider and approve overlap activities, if there was an advance knowledge on their evolutions.

The Steering Committee of Project 60 took place during the 6th International Meeting of the National Focal Points of the EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative. The Initiative unites sixty countries around eight regional secretariats with an aim to increase the national and regional capacities to mitigate chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) risks.