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Cooperation & Development 

Capacity building is the process by which individuals and organizations obtain, improve, and retain the skills, knowledge, tools, equipment, and other resources needed to do their jobs competently.

It allows individuals and organizations to perform at a greater capacity (larger scale, larger audience, larger impact).


Therefore, the terms ‘training’ and ‘capacity building’ are sometimes confused or used interchangeably. Training is just one element of capacity development. It usually focuses on providing skills for specific problems. Capacity development encompasses a whole range of activities designed to empower individuals and institutions (including the analysis of policy contexts, awareness building, institutional adjustments, policy research, policy immersion and more). Training has to be embedded within a broad set of activities, carefully designed to consider the local cultural, policy and organizational context. Consequently, it is crucial to clearly define capacity building in all its various aspects. Quite often, the notion of capacity building is associated to the idea of increasing or developing skills and competencies at an individual level, i.e., training of staff. However, capacity building is a much broader concept that should be considered from a systemic perspective, which involves different clusters, as individuals, organizations, institution, and society.

Our expertise 

ISA has provided support to more than 20 countries in North, West, Central Africa and Sahel by developing methodologies for capacity assessment, capacity building strategy and implementation. In addition to trainings which are commonly used to strengthen capacities, we go beyond by working on normative capacity with gaps analysis, awareness raising, policy design and implementation. We also provide IT tools (collaborative platforms) and integrated solutions such as Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) to centralize strategic information and avoid fragmentation. The success of our operations rely on effective inter-service cooperation, political commitment and active participation of individuals to make countries a healthier, safer and more secure place to live and to invest.  

CBRN CoE Projects 

  • P35 - SAFE-WASTE Management of hazardous biological and chemical waste in the African Atlantic Façade 

  • P41 - INSTASUR Management of high risk chemical facilities and risk mitigation in the African Atlantic Façade (including Tunisia)

  • P55 - FRONSEC  Strengthening cross-border capacity for control and detection of CBRN substances in North Africa & Sahel 

  • P69 - INSTASUR Management of high risk chemical facilities and risk mitigation in the African Atlantic Façade (including Sierra Leone)

  • P71 - SECTRANS Safer and more secure transportation of dangerous goods by road and rail in the African Atlantic Façade

  • P82 Capacity Building for Medical Preparedness and Response to CBRN Incidents in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council)

  • P88 Strengthening of CBRN Medical Preparedness and Response Capabilities in SEEE (South East and Eastern Europe) countries*

  • P95 - SAFETIC Safe transportation and installations using chemicals in the African Atlantic Façade

The EU CBRN Centres of Excellence Initiative 

The EU CBRN CoE project, launched in 2010, is an Initiative of the European Union. It is implemented jointly by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).


The creation of the EU CBRN CoEs aims at implementing a coordinated strategy for CBRN risk mitigation at international, regional and national levels. The origin of the risk can be criminal (proliferation, theft, sabotage and illicit trafficking), accidental (industrial catastrophes, in particular chemical or nuclear, waste treatment and transport) or natural (mainly pandemics).


The EU CBRN CoE initiative is adapted to the current risks and threats that may come from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and their know-how transfer.


The main purpose of the EU CBRN CoE initiative is CBRN cooperation (e.g., culture of safety and security, preparedness) or regional outreach. Recent events like Ebola crisis demonstrate that the EU must improve the prevention, detection and response to these events. This is true in poor regions with fragile states, but it is also true within the EU with the EU CBRN Action Plan containing concrete recommendations to increase EU CBRN vigilance (technology, financial, academics vigilance).


The EU CBRN CoE initiative intends to be a first concrete step forwards a CBRN policy outside the EU. Indeed, the concept proposes a new methodology for CBRN assistance and cooperation to non-EU countries. However, it is also an attempt to break the vicious circle of “assistance as usual” or “ad hoc technical assistance”. They may participate to a full revision of CBRN threat reduction programs, outside but also inside the EU.

There are many departments in the EU involved on CBRN issues. Each of them addresses the issue from a different angle: security, development, energy, health, environment, civil protection, crisis prevention and crisis response. Each of them provides its own assistance program and common guidance on the prevention, detection and response. Therefore, a CBRN Policy Communication should be elaborated to prepare further coordination and communication internally and externally to bring coherence and complementary among external actions in particular on security issues.


The true success of the EU CBRN CoE will not rest on CBRN expertise and its extensive network of law enforcers, diplomats and military officers. There are already many support/training/academic “Centres of Excellence” in the world (e.g. NATO, IAEA NSSC). The EU CBRN CoE initiative wants to do better and puts forwards Trust and Confidence Building Measures.


The EU will make a difference on trust and governance. Asking people coming from different communities, different cultures and different regions to work together, before working with us, this is a new approach proposed in the security domain. Supporting people to define their own CBRN needs not only on a bilateral basis, but also at regional level is a challenge. On such sensitive issues


The EU CBRN CoE Initiative is a long term, iterative process to build a culture of safety and security.

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