North Macedonia was among the first countries in the South East and Eastern Europe (SEEE) region to initiate regional cooperation within the framework of the European Union’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative (EU CBRN CoE) when it was officially launched in 2010. Immediately after joining the Initiative, the CBRN National Focal Point was designated. In 2012, the CBRN National Team (Coordination Body) was established and later renewed its membership in 2021.
Over the past eleven years since its establishment, the CBRN National Team of North Macedonia has achieved several notable milestones. These accomplishments include the development of the CBRN National Strategy, drafting and validation of the CBRN National Actional Plan (NAP), implementation of externally funded regional projects, appointment of national subject matter experts to attend different activities and events, coordination of national efforts in mitigation of CBRN risks and threats, and other significant achievements. Successful collaboration among team members required extensive coordination, a role effectively led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia.
Following the expiration of the CBRN National Action Plan in 2022, the National Focal Point of North Macedonia initiated consultations with members of the National Team and the SEEE Regional Secretariat to review existing needs, identify gaps, and set priorities for updating their NAP for the next period. To achieve these objectives, a CBRN National Team meeting was convened in Skopje on 26 September 2023, in close coordination with key international stakeholders of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative, including the SEEE Regional Secretariat, UNICRI and the On-Site Technical Assistance to the EU CBRN CoE Regional Secretariats (P94). The CBRN Focal Point from the EU Delegation in North Macedonia was also invited to participate in all meetings during this visit.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia hosted the meeting, which was attended by thirty government officials, and other national and international stakeholders invited by the national focal point. Participants represented various government bodies, including: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, the Ministry of Local Self-Government, the National Co-ordinational Center for Border Management, the Directorate for Radiation Safety, the Custom Administration, the Food and Veterinary Agency, the Directorate for Protection and Rescue, the Crisis Management Center, the Agency for National Security, the Institute of Public Health, the Intelligence Agency, and the State Environmental Inspectorate.
At the meeting, participants received an overview of the EU CBRN CoE Initiative, including information about assistance and support that they may request from the SEEE Regional Secretariat, as well as updates on ongoing projects and activities funded by the European Commission. They were also briefed on the technical assistance and expert support options in case the National CBRN Team expressed specific needs. The National Team was provided by detailed informed about the Needs Assessment Questionnaire (NAQ), the methodology for developing the CBRN National Action Plan, and the necessary processes to follow if they wish to proceed in this direction.
As a result of the meeting, the CBRN National Team meeting decided to initiate an immediate review of their CBRN National Action Plan. The SEEE Regional Secretariat, in close coordination with relevant stakeholders, including the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) will coordinate the facilitation of the next steps and activities.
The EU CBRN CoE Initiative is a global Initiative funded and implemented by the European Union as part of its goal to promote peace, stability and conflict prevention.
The aim of the Initiative is to mitigate risks and strengthen an all-hazards security governance in Partner Countries of the EU following a voluntary and demand-driven approach. The EU support is provided to implement a wide range of CBRN risk mitigation activities including needs and risk assessments, national and regional action plans, capacity building activities, legal framework reviews, table top and real time (including cross-border) field exercises, inter-regional exchange of best practices and lessons learnt.
Funded and implemented through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – Global Europe, the Initiative is led by the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), in close coordination with the European External Action Service (EEAS). The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) provides technical support to Partner Countries, while the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) ensures a coherent and effective national, regional and international cooperation. Other relevant International and/or Regional Organisations and experts also contribute to the Initiative, which represents the EU’s largest civilian external security programme.