On 25-27 November 2020, a UNICRI Team held a virtual meeting to discuss and consult with the Georgian authorities responsible for preventing the trafficking of radiological and nuclear (RN) material. The meeting was conducted within the framework of the project CONTACT – Enhancing capacities to prevent the trafficking of radiological and nuclear material in the Black Sea. The meeting was organized with the precious support of the State Security Service of Georgia.
Over the course of the three days, UNICRI experts met with the relevant State authorities in charge of countering RN trafficking, and discussed issues such as legal and regulatory framework, inter-agency coordination mechanisms, available assets (equipment, human resources, expertise), regional cooperation, as well as priorities and future actions.
When summarizing the consultation, Ms. Mari Lursmanashvili, Focal Point of the Interagency Coordinating Council of Georgia for Combating CBRN Threats, stated: “The Assessment Mission on illicit trafficking of RN materials was very fruitful. It provided the potential beneficiaries and trainees of the project with an opportunity not only to understand the project goals and scope but jointly analyze their needs and identify priority areas. During the three-day consultation meetings, participants held thorough discussions on the roles, functions and capabilities of each national agency and ministry involved in nuclear security and, specifically, in countering RN smuggling.”
Mr. Francesco Marelli, Head of Programme, CBRN Risk Mitigation and Security Governance, expressed his gratitude “to all the Georgian national agencies that participated in the meeting and to our Georgian National Focal Points, Ms. Diana Tsutskiridze and Ms. Mari Lursmanashvili, for their tireless efforts, cooperation and commitment that contributed to the great success of this event.” He emphasised that “UNICRI’s close partnership with Georgia has been well established over the years and is based on our shared objective to build the capacities of law enforcement and security agencies to mitigate CBRN risks within the Black Sea region.”
The CONTACT – Black Sea Project aims to enhance capacities of State security and law enforcement agencies to effectively prevent and counter the trafficking of RN material in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as to increase regional cooperation and exchange of information on RN trafficking investigations. The project is funded by the United Kingdom Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (UK BEIS), the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA) and the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).