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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.

Capacity building

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.

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.


ISA has played a pivotal role in advancing the capacities of over 40 countries spanning North, West, Central Africa, Sahel, GCC, Middle East, and SEEE. Our comprehensive approach involves crafting methodologies for capacity assessment, developing strategic frameworks, and overseeing implementation. Going beyond traditional training, we integrate normative capacity work, awareness campaigns, policy design, and cutting-edge IT solutions such as Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) to centralize information.

The efficacy of our operations relies on seamless inter-service cooperation, unwavering political commitment, and active individual participation. Through these concerted efforts, we aim to cultivate environments that are not only healthier and safer but also more secure, thereby fostering conditions conducive to investment.

In the specialized domain of CBRNe (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive), ISA has been at the forefront of capacity-building initiatives across more than 40 countries. Our corporate endeavors encompass a spectrum of measures strategically tailored to enhance the capabilities of individuals, organizations, and nations. By focusing on preparedness, response, and recovery from CBRNe incidents, we contribute to building resilience and fortifying global security frameworks.

The following outlines key capacity-building activities undertaken by ISA in the CBRNE area:

Project Management & Coordination

ISA excels in the strategic management and coordination of CBRNe capacity-building projects, demonstrating a commitment to precision and excellence. Our organization is not just a training provider but a leader in executing and overseeing projects, ensuring the implementation of project management principles. With a corporate focus on efficiency and effectiveness, ISA plays a pivotal role in the success of capacity-building initiatives within the CBRNe domain. We bring a corporate approach to project management that elevates outcomes and ensures the seamless enhancement of CBRNe capabilities.

Fact-finding Missions

ISA specializes in executing fact-finding missions designed to gather strategic information and assess the prevailing landscape of capabilities, needs, and challenges in CBRNe preparedness and response. Our missions are conducted to provide comprehensive insights, enabling a thorough understanding of the intricacies involved. Through these strategic endeavors, ISA plays a pivotal role in shaping informed strategies and enhancing preparedness in the realm of CBRNe.

Legal Analysis and Policy Development

Within the domain of CBRNe, ISA excels in conducting comprehensive legal analyses, meticulously assessing relevant laws, regulations, and frameworks. This expertise serves as the foundation for providing informed guidance on legal considerations. Simultaneously, ISA is at the forefront of policy development, actively assisting in the creation and implementation of policies and guidelines pertaining to CBRNe incident response and management. This dual capability ensures a holistic approach, seamlessly integrating legal insights and strategic policy frameworks for effective response and management in the face of CBRNe incidents.

Integrated Training Solutions

ISA delivers a diverse array of training programs designed to equip first responders, emergency personnel, and authorities in CBRNe incident management. This encompasses basic and advanced training, incident command, SOP development, and equipment familiarization. Our expertise extends to Simulation Exercises, testing and enhancing response capabilities. Additionally, ISA embraces digital education through tailored E-Learning platforms for CBRNe topics. For a more immersive approach, ISA specializes in Serious Game development, providing engaging simulations for enhanced decision-making in CBRNe scenarios. These integrated training solutions epitomize ISA's commitment to excellence in preparing individuals and organizations for effective CBRNe response.

Threat, Vulnerability and Risk Assessments

ISA excels in offering tools and methodologies essential for evaluating risks and threats associated with CBRNe incidents. This encompasses comprehensive assessments, including vulnerability and impact evaluations, providing crucial insights for strategic decision-making and preparedness.

Comprehensive Awareness Initiatives

ISA spearheads comprehensive awareness initiatives, strategically targeting decision-makers across sectors. By providing targeted information and insights, we enhance their understanding of CBRNe risks, influencing informed decision-making in incident response and management. Simultaneously, our Public Awareness Campaigns educate the general public on CBRNe risks, preparedness, and response measures. Through strategic campaigns, ISA fosters a well-informed and prepared community, contributing to a safer and more resilient society.

Unified Collaborative Efforts

ISA leads efforts in unified collaboration, encompassing Inter-Agency Coordination to facilitate seamless collaboration among various agencies, both nationally and internationally, involved in CBRNe response. Simultaneously, our commitment to International Collaboration involves engaging in partnerships with international organizations and experts to share knowledge and best practices, ensuring a comprehensive and globally informed approach to CBRNe response efforts.

Engaging Communities in CBRNe

ISA actively involves communities in CBRNe preparedness and response by conducting training, workshops, and outreach activities. This inclusive approach ensures community empowerment and enhances overall resilience in the face of CBRNe challenges.


Project 82 is a joint effort between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar under the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative to mitigate risks from CBRN materials and technologies. The project builds on the experiences of CoE Project 54 on strengthening capacities to manage medical responses to CBRN incidents in the Middle East, a project that involved the countries of Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq and which is concluding in August 2019 after running for a period of three years.


This project is critical to address CBRN security and safety concerns from a holistic and comprehensive perspective and to capitalize on the many projects implemented in the concerned regions under the EU CBRN CoE initiative.


Partner countries in Eastern and Central African region have put in place measures to mitigate the risks brought about by biological agents. In most countries, legislation and/or regulations have been developed, biosafety committees or framework are in place and are members of regional Associations.


15% of global traffic, all products and all modes of transport combined, concern hazardous materials. They provide fuel for boilers, fill the tank of gasoline cars, to manufacture industrially millions of pieces for everyday objects or hundreds of building materials, covering asphalt roads, developing new textiles, manufacturing fertilizers, treating patients, or treating drinking water and wastewater ... in a word, to meet daily needs.


The project SAFETIC is ambitious and of high interest for the partner countries as reflected during the bilateral meetings and will capitalize on previous EU funded projects under the CBRN CoE Centres of Excellence initiative suc


All beneficiary countries are affected to a different extent by burden with limited medical emergency management capabilities of CBRN accidents and emergencies.


The project 69 of the NRBC Centers of Excellence for the Atlantic Façade of Africa (FAA) aims to improve and strengthen the management of classified high-risk facilities in the 10 partner countries: Benin, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Liberia, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.


Management of hazardous biological and chemical waste in the African Atlantic Façade.


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

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