28.6.2016: Today’s CBRA Interview with Ms. Dace Sarma from CRDF Global focuses on the U.S. Department of State’s Chemical Security Program
Hi Dace, and thanks for joining CBRA Interview. Can you please tell first a bit of your background and what you do today?
I work at CRDF Global, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, training and services. At CRDF Global, I work in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Chemical Security Program, CSP in short, on programming collaborating with government, security, academic, and industrial communities around the world to strengthen their ability to thwart chemical attacks. Prior to working with CSP, I supported and implemented the Department of State’s Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism, WMDT in short, projects within the scope of CRDF Global support for the WMDT.
Thanks for sharing that. Can you explain more about CRDF Global and the Chemical Security Program, CSP, by the US State Department?
CSP works with a number of implementing partners, including CRDF Global, to promote chemical security through sponsorship of projects designed to identify and address chemical security vulnerabilities and prevent chemical attacks.
CSP collaborates with diverse stakeholders, including partner governments, subject matter experts, and international organizations, to enhance chemical security through capacity building workshops, and trainings.
I had the pleasure to join twice the CRDF Global workshops in 2015: first to Hurghada, Egypt, in March 2015, and second to Istanbul, Turkey, in December 2015. The former workshop was targeted for the Egyptian government and chemical industry, and the latter one for the Iraqi government and chemical industry. Extremely interesting 3-4 days in both workshops, with great audiences and co-speakers / co-facilitators. In both workshops I gave presentations e.g. on FP7-project CORE / dangerous goods tracking, and on Dow Chemical supply chain security – thanks again to Ms. Antonella Di Fazio of Telespazio and Dr. Toni Mannisto of CBRA for co-producing these presentations. What is the current status of CSP regarding these countries today, if I may ask?
Thank you again for your participation in these workshops, Juha. We all appreciated you sharing your experience in chemical supply chain and transportation security.
We have continued work with our partners in Egypt on chemical supply chain security. CRDF Global, the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ Environmental Compliance Office (FEI-ECO) and the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ Chamber of Chemical Industries (CCI) held an event in December, also sponsored by CSP, which convened 170 government, industry and academia representatives from Egypt’s chemical sector to highlight Egypt’s achievements in securing the chemical supply chain and identify further steps required to secure their chemicals in transit. FEI-ECO and CCI are also working to provide technical guidance and support for Egyptian chemical companies to adopt Responsible Care®, an international voluntary chemical management initiative developed by the chemical industry to help chemical companies operate safely, securely and profitably.
In Iraq, CRDF Global and CSP have continued to work closely with a variety of partners from across the chemical and security communities. Most recently in April, with sponsorship from CSP, CRDF Global implemented the 1st National Chemical and Biological Security Coordination Conference in Baghdad. The conference convened Iraqi government, security, industrial, and academic sectors to discuss national efforts, interagency coordination, and best practices to counter chemical and biological proliferation in Iraq.
Any plans in 2016 to organize similar workshops in the MENA region?
We will continue to work with our international partners, including in the MENA region, in 2016. As the world becomes more connected, we will continue to focus on securing the chemical supply chain. Many of our partners have also identified chemical ground transportation security as an area of particular interest. We look forward to working with technical experts like CBRA and leaders from chemical communities worldwide to enhance global chemical security.
Thanks a lot Dace for this interview – and hope to meet you soon again, at one the upcoming missions / workshops! Juha