CBSS Secretariat joins new project on protecting society from hazardous substances

Intentional or unintentional accidents, involving dangerous substances, can cause a lot of damage to people and the environment and it is very important that all the responsible agencies are on the same page about the ways to handle such accidents. For example, after a chemical leak or a suspected dirty bomb report – can a police officer remove the suspicious container wearing gloves, or wait for the special squad to come? How can a dangerous substance be identified and should the people from the surrounding buildings be evacuated? What medical help is needed? To answer questions like this, every country should do a lot of coordination and planning between different national agencies, such as police, fire and rescue services, medical teams and scientists. And in case the accident is affecting more than one country, similar planning and coordination should be done across borders. 

During last 5 years CBSS Secretariat organised several international meetings between agencies in charge of CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear substances) crisis management in the Baltic Sea Region to make sure that they are ready to work together if a crisis strikes. 

A natural continuation of this work for the Secretariat’s Civil Security Team was to join a consortium led by the International Centre for Chemical Safety and Security (Poland) for a project aiming at bringing together experts from Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Germany, Lithuania, Moldova and Latvia to exchange experiences in protecting the society from hazardous substances. The project first online meeting took place on 15th March 2021, where the CBSS Director General welcomed the participants and the Civil Security Team presented its plans to develop the communication strategy of the project. 

Funded by the European Union Civil Protection the project NET-CBRN-REACT is set to develop a Knowledge Network as an inclusive platform of shared knowledge and expertise, good practices and networking in order to establish common understanding and shared culture of prevention, preparedness and response in civil protection and CBRN disaster risk management.

The project plans to host two international workshops: in Lviv, Ukraine, and in Minsk, Belarus in 2022.