On Wednesday 30 September a large number of experts gathered in Umeå for this year’s CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive) theme days. Delegates from almost 50 authorities, research organisations, decision makers, experts, foreign representatives and a wide range of companies attended the event held at Filmstaden in Umeå
Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist opened proceedings by highlighting the great benefit of having such a strong cluster of CBRNE expertise in Umeå, a view that is readily understandable.
As Mats Strömqvist, Head of FOI’s Division for CBRN Defence and Security, put it: “There are so many synergies to exploit when we have so many specialist experts in a single geographical cluster.”
There are a range of actors in the CBRNE field in Umeå. These include FOI’s Division for CBRN Defence and Security, the Swedish National CBRN Defence Centre (a military unit) and the European CBRNE Centre at Umeå University. The Swedish Police authority have also located their node for CBRN protection in Umeå.
In his inaugural address Peter Hultqvist made the point that the threat from weapons of mass destruction needed to be taken very seriously. He also highlighted Sweden’s prominent position in the field of CBRNE and the importance of remaining strong in this area.
This year’s CBRNE days brought together almost 250 delegates from some 50 public sector bodies together with five companies involved in this field. Delegates represented a wide range of bodies including the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), the Swedish Armed Forces, the Swedish Transport Administration, various Rescue and Emergency services, the Swedish Coast Guard and the Government Offices, and the wide range of bodies involved underlines the importance that society now places on these matters.
“This is the time of year when all of us who work with these important issues have an opportunity to meet and share our knowledge while discussing problems and solutions. There are many who appreciate the chance to meet colleagues from other organisations all over Sweden, adds Mats Strömqvist.
Many engaging lectures
The CBRNE days also included lectures and presentations. The local perspective, with examples from real CBRNE incidents, created a lot of interest. The CBRNE days concluded with a panel discussion in the form of an “Ebola sofa session” in which four workers who had different roles in West Africa shared their experiences, something that was very greatly appreciated.