The prospect of non-State actors, including terrorist groups and their supporters, gaining access to and using weapons and materials of mass destruction is a serious threat to international peace and security. The international community must be ready to respond to an attack involving the use of such weapons or materials and that response must be in a coordinated and harmonized manner.
Since 2015, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) seeks to enhance international cooperation among mandated agencies and organizations through its project on “Ensuring Effective Inter-Agency Interoperability and Coordinated Communication in Case of Chemical and/or Biological Attacks”.
In this context, on 13 December 2017 UNOCT organized a side-event to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs Expert Meeting on Article VII of the Biological Weapons Convention. The event was graced with the presence of Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of Counter-Terrorism, Ms. Michèle Coninsx, Assistant-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, and Mr. Jehangir Khan, Director of UNOCT.
The side-event focused on the preparedness and response to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) incident/attack. Experts from Member States and International Organizations shared their experiences and discuss how the international community could coordinate better a response to a WMD attack.
The invited speakers came from Canada, Finland, Malaysia and the United States as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the UNODA Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit and the World Health Organization (WHO).