Following the footsteps of four successful NCT CBRNe events in Asia, the first edition of NCT CBRNe Asia-Pacific 2016 took place from March 15-16 at The Palace Hotel in Seoul attracting over 130 delegates from the Asia-Pacific region, but also from other countries as France, Germany, Italy, Oman, Poland, the UK and the USA. The 19th edition of the worldwide NCT event series has been organized in cooperation with the Korean University BioDefense Research Institute (KU BDRI), the Korean Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences (KIRAMS), the Korean CBRN Society and the Korean Institute of Hazardous Materials (KIHM). The two-day conference saw the participation of leading stakeholders from the ROK Army, first responders, government and groundbreaking research institutes providing updates on CBRNe emergency preparedness and response approaches against the evolving CBRNe security environment.
On March 15th, the event opened its doors to welcome the local and international delegates for the two-day conference and exhibition starting with an opening speech of the conference chairman, BG (R) JB Burton, former Commander of the U.S Army 20th CBRNe Command. BG (R) Burton made it clear with his first words that in an evolving threat environment the development of solid CBRNe capabilities and improved interoperability between first responders, policy makers, industry and scientists are essential for an effective global CBRNe defense organization. The speech of BG (R) Burton was followed by presentations from leading experts in CBRNe research and response, including Brig. Gen. Woon Goh, Commander of the ROK CBRN School, Col. Byung Sub Kim, Commander of the ROK Army CBR Defense Research Institute and Col. Henry Neumann, Commander of the Bundeswehr CBRN Defense Command. The first conference day addressed topics as CBRNe capability building, non-proliferation and best practices in CBRN decontamination and defense organization and provided an excellent overview of international efforts in CBRNe defense with speakers from Australia, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam. In Seoul, NCT CBRNe Asia-Pacific aimed at contributing the development of an integrated CBRNe defense and security community around the globe.
During the second conference day on March 16th the attention was focused on chemical threats, biosecurity and medical response for mass casualty incidents. The day was opened by a speech of Lt. Gen. Ke Da, Deputy Secretary General of the National Authority for the Prohibition of Chemical, Nuclear, Biological and Radiological Weapons of Cambodia who presented the outstanding example of chemical defense capabilities and capacity building for CBRN incident response developed in Cambodia. The speech of Lt. Gen. Ke Da was followed by presentations from speakers from Australia, Croatia, Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and the UK. Valuable insights in biodefense preparedness were presented by Prof. Moonsoo Yoon from the Korean University BioDefense Research Institute who presented lessons learned in Korea from the 2015-2016 MERS outbreaks. During the second conference day Dr. Seung-sook Lee, Chief of the Department of Pathology at the Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences (KIRAMS) provided an outstanding presentation on radiation emergency medical preparedness in Korea and on integrated countermeasure systems to manage the consequences of mass casualty incidents involving radiological materials in the Korean Peninsula.
The closing speeches of BG (R) JB Burton and Dr. Ik-Kwah Kim, Director of the Korean BioDefense Research Institute, reiterated the importance of sharing experiences in CBRNe preparedness and consequence management as well as the fundamental role of networking opportunities provided by the NCT event series in the development of a conscious and solid CBRNe community. With 20 participating sponsors and a sold out exhibition, the event provided once again outstanding prospects to share experiences and best practices in CBRNe defense and response organization.
At the very end of the conference, the Managing Director of IB Consultancy, Ilja Bonsen, awarded BG (R) JB Burton, the Korean University BioDefense Research Institute, the Korean Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, the Korean CBRN Society and the Korean Institute of Hazardous Materials for their outstanding commitment to organize and support such a successful CBRNe event in Seoul and invited everyone to join Asia’s largest CBRNe forum next November in Malaysia.