The acronym ‘CBRN’ defines chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and agents that could potentially harm the society through their accidental or deliberate release, dissemination, or impacts. Nowadays many of these agents have been subject to innovative practices in medicine, agriculture and industry and are being used for the benefit of human health, the environment and the global economy.
Strengthening the security culture worldwide and our capabilities to effectively prevent will reduce the risk of natural, accidental and deliberate incidents deriving from the potential use of these agents on the whole of society. In a globalised world, the inadequate control over CBRN materials can pose threats to security, human health, economic development and to the environment that go far beyond national or regional borders.
Some of these CBRN incidents have increased the need for more collaborative international efforts to mitigate such risks.
The explosion of ammonium nitrate at the port of Beirut, chemical weapons used during the Syrian war, or the chemical factory explosion in Toulouse.
Avian flu, the Ebola outbreak in West African countries, Dengue fever, Zika virus, zoonotic diseases or the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Accidents deriving from radioactive isotope leakage, radioactive source used for industrial radiography going missing, among others.
Release of the energy resulting from a nuclear chain reaction; e.g. nuclear power plant accidents, such as Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Ensuring the safe management of CBRN materials means making the world a more secure place. As part of its goal to promote peace, stability and conflict prevention, the European Union is strongly committed to support the efforts of its partner countries worldwide for the mitigation of and preparedness against CBRN risks through several flagship initiatives:
EU CBRN Centres of Excellence
The EU CBRN CoE brings together over 60 countries that cooperate at regional and international level to strengthen CBRN risk mitigation and to promote a global culture of safety and security. Established in 2010, the network’s voluntary, demand-driven approach is a telling example of a collective action for the common good.
EU P2P Export Control Programme
The EUP2P Programme is the EU’s long-standing programme aimed at strengthening export controls for dual-use goods (that can be used for both civil and military purposes) and arms trade worldwide, supporting international trade in a secure and peaceful way.
International Science and Technology Centre
Based in Kazakhstan, the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC) supports the promotion of a culture of safety and security, and responsible science by advancing civilian science and technology partnerships addressing CBRN risks.
Science and Technology Centre
Based in Ukraine, the Science and Technology Centre (STCU) supports the promotion of a culture of safety and security, and responsible science by advancing civilian science and technology partnerships addressing CBRN risks.