In 2021, the EU introduced a new external cooperation instrument, the ‘Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe’ (NDICI – Global Europe). The new instrument provides the EU with the flexibility to respond faster to new crises and security challenges, including in responding to the needs of partner countries to cope with the medium-term socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a voluntary and demand-driven initiative, the EU Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative is designed to support partner countries in a wide range of CBRN mitigation activities including needs and risk assessments, national and regional action plans, training, tabletop and real-time field exercises and developing train-the-trainer modules.
‘Early on in the pandemic, it was clear that there was a need to strengthen collaboration with our ASEAN partners and entities’, CBRN CoE Regional Coordinator – South East Asia, Rory Alexander Hamilton said.
On 26 May 2020, the CBRN CoE Regional Secretariat for South East Asia organised the first of a webinar series with Thailand’s quarantine strategy as the first topic. Up to 13 July 2021, the Secretariat has organised a total of 17 webinars, reaching over 1 200 participants, on a wide range of topics, including mobilising grassroot efforts to combat COVID-19,
how to stop disinformation on social media during COVID-19, and the importance of international collaboration during the pandemic.
‘We have a regional network of many talented experts’, Hamilton said. ‘Their expertise and familiarity with the region and its cultures, make them an invaluable asset in the region’s efforts to cope with the pandemic’.