From the 7th to the 11th March, SecTransNAS organised a regional workshop on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG), which consisted of various aspects. This workshop also aimed to stimulate a regional vision of the concepts already developed in the framework of the project.
The presence of all the representatives of the key institutions of this project, in this case, the project manager of the Centres of Excellence of the European Union, Mrs. Anne-Sophie LEQUARRE, the coordinator of the North Africa & Sahel region, Mrs. Julie BUSH, and the technical On Site Advisor. Mr Nicolas JAL testifies to the importance given to these activities. It was also an opportunity to meet the new Director of the North Africa and Sahel Region (NAS), Mr. Larbi LEBBAZ. Each of them addressed a few words to the experts and participants of this workshop
Indeed, this regional workshop represented the culmination of three years of diverse activities around the TDG issue. Each country had already benefited from similar national actions, adapted to its reality. This time, it was an opportunity to consider the regional dimension at the origin of the project and which gives it its full meaning.
The week-long event discussed procedures for establishing a minimum regional legal framework for the transport of biological and chemical materials and the steps to be taken towards full integration into international regulations. Participants also discussed guidelines for operational safety and security protocols, technologies and equipment available for the management of accidents related to the transport of dangerous goods, and awareness-raising among professionals and the public. Finally, field exercises involving specific chemicals and potential victims were discussed.
The country representatives spoke on all these issues, sharing their experiences and knowledge with enthusiasm and a willingness to collaborate in all areas related to TDG. These exchanges highlighted the determination of the countries to strengthen national regulations but also to harmonise these regulations with those of other countries in the region.
It must be recognised that the North Africa & Sahel region is not homogenous in terms of the transport of dangerous goods; two regulatory areas and quite different practices. On the one hand, North Africa where two countries are signatories of the ADR and a third one which aspires to be in the near future, and on the other hand, the Sahel countries which are resolutely committed to put in place good safety and security practices which will lead them to total compliance with international regulations but in a probably more distant future.
The project is coming to an end, but the ideas exchanged at this workshop give good reason to be optimistic about mitigating the risks and hazards of transporting hazardous materials in the region.
The European Union chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risk mitigation centres of excellence initiative (or EU CBRN CoE) was launched in in 2010. Its objective is prevention, preparedness and management, post-crisis, to CBRN incidents. These risks may be created intentionally, i.e. trafficking, theft, proliferation, and sabotage; accidentally, i.e., industrial disasters, waste treatment; or naturally, pandemics, etc. The purpose of this action is to promote political and operational cooperation at national, regional and international levels.
The added value of this EU Initiative is to promote a holistic view of CBRN risks when such threats have often been treated in isolation in the past. To that end, a regional and coordinated response, through the creation of an international network of experts and authorities, is more likely to deliver greater security outcomes when the transport of dangerous goods is concerned.
The funding for CoE projects comes from the EU Instrument Contributing to Security and Peace (IcSP) and is implemented in co-operation with the United Nations Interregional Research on crime and justice Institute (UNICRI). The initiative is set up with the technical support of relevant international and regional organizations as well as EU member countries and other relevant stakeholders through a coherent approach to promote efficient and effective cooperation at national level, regional and international. The initiative has seventy-one countries in eight regions of the world and is the largest external civil security program in the EU.
– Project website: https://www.sectrans-nas.eu/
– CBRN Centres of Excellence website: http://www.cbrn-coe.eu
– The Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) website (IcSP) « Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) — “GLOBAL EUROPE” : https://ec.europa.eu/international-partnerships/system/files/factsheet-global-europe-ndici-june-2021_en.pdf