In a significant step forward for the ATLAS project, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) has successfully concluded the first train-the-trainers event held in Tunis, Tunisia, from 11 to 15 September 2023. The event, which was a key milestone of the ATLAS project, aimed to strengthen Tunisia's capacity to prevent chemical weapons attacks by non-state actors through enhanced intelligence-sharing and inter-agency cooperation mechanisms.
Nine participants from various Tunisian authorities attended the event and demonstrated their commitment and expertise throughout the comprehensive training, which covered essential aspects of chemical weapons threat prevention. These participants represented key Tunisian agencies, including the Forensic Police, Customs, the General Directorate of Specialized Services, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training Unit, the Directorate of the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of National Defence.
The train-the-trainers event was designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to thwart chemical weapons attacks by non-state actors. The wide-ranging curriculum included frontal lectures, interactive discussions, and practical exercises that examined the four critical phases of a chemical attack. Topics such as financial intelligence, the acquisition of chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals, and the strategies employed by non-state actors in selecting their targets were all touched upon.
Throughout the five-day event, participants engaged in a variety of group activities aimed at fostering collaboration and assessing potential chemical weapon threats. Modules on scenario analysis and tabletop activity planning provided a valuable opportunity to understand theoretical aspects while also gaining hands-on experience.
The participants who successfully completed this train-the-trainers will now take the lead to plan and conduct their own national training event for colleagues from various national law enforcement and security agencies, creating a network of experts committed to addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by chemical weapons threats. By adopting this “train-the-trainers” approach, UNICRI aims to create a sustainable framework for knowledge dissemination and capacity building in the fight against chemical weapons threats.
About ATLAS: Preventing non-state actors from planning and carrying out chemical weapons attacks through intelligence-led operations.
Atlas is a pilot project which aims to prevent non-state actors from planning and carrying out chemical weapons attacks by developing and implementing training programmes in North Africa. Designed within the framework of the European Union (EU) Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative, the ATLAS project is implemented by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and with the financial support of the United States (US) Department of State (DoS).
For more information about the ATLAS project, please click here.