EU partners with African nations to curb CBRN weapons

The European Union recently initiated partnerships with several African countries aimed at curtailing the illicit trafficking of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.

The EU is encouraging the establishment of a collective approach to eliminating the use of biological and chemical reagents on the continent. EU officials have acknowledged the growing threat of synthetic biological compounds to human health and fragile African ecosystems, according to Xinhua.

Bruno Dupre, the CBRN policy coordinator for the European External Action Service, recently spoke about the issue at a regional conference in Nairobi, where he told delegates that the EU was committed to facilitating the development of a culture of safety and security in relation to CBRN materials.

"The same has been done in seven other regions including Southeast Asia, Caucasus, Middle East, Maghreb, Gulf States and West Africa," Dupre said, Xinhua reports.

The two day conference Dupre attended was organized by European and Kenyan officials. Dupre said the goal of the meeting was to raise awareness of the dangers of the illicit traffic in CBRN materials among attendees. The EU, Dupre said, is determined to share the methods is uses to stymie the movement of dangerous compounds across borders.

"There is consensus among experts on the risks posed by illicit transfer of chemical and biological materials and the need to address them," Dupre said, according to Xinhua. "The EU supports these partnerships."

Dupre also announced that the EU plans to spend $387 million to fund anti-trafficking efforts worldwide.

"The funding covers 2007-2013 and will assist governments develop their own models, exchange information and harmonize response mechanism," Dupre said, Xinhua reports.