Training Activities in Support of the Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons (UNSGM)

Member States nominate well-qualified experts for the rosters. However, training activities provide these experts with additional knowledge and skills needed to operate as a cohesive UN team in challenging field conditions to carry out their mandate. UNODA coordinates on training activities with partners, including Member States and international organizations. In accordance with the current Guidelines and Procedures, “any interested Member State may designate to the Secretary-General relevant specialized training or courses available to qualified experts in support of their possible role on his behalf in carrying out investigations of possible use of chemical, biological and toxin agents, in order to facilitate achievement on a common basis of understanding and operation.”

The first-ever training course for nominated experts on the UNSGM roster was offered by the Government of Sweden and was conducted in cooperation with UNODA in Umea, Sweden from 25 May to 5 June 2009. Since then, in cooperation with UNODA, 20 training courses have been held in six countries (Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and United Kingdom) as well as organized by two international organizations (INTERPOL, OPCW).

An overview of past training activities and exercises can be found below.

Member State/ OrganizationTypeDates
SwedenBasic training and field exercise25 May – 5 June 2009
FranceBasic training4-10 November 2012
DenmarkTable-top exercise28-30 May 2013
GermanyWorkshop (in preparation of field exercise)28-30 January 2014
SwedenFirst advanced team leader training and exercise9-14 June 2014
United KingdomCommand, control and investigation22-26 September 2014
GermanyField exercise10-19 November 2014
FranceBasic training7-19 June 2015
OPCWAdvanced skills in negotiations and interviewing7-10 September 2015
SwedenLeadership skills28 September – 3 October 2016
AustraliaBasic training17-28 October 2016
United KingdomCommand and control5-8 December 2016
FranceBasic training6-16 November 2017
UNODAExpert consultant workshop14-15 December 2017
United KingdomCommand, control and communication26 February -2 March 2018
INTERPOLEvidence gathering and handling5-9 November 2018
GermanyHazardous environment awareness training14-20 September 2019
SwedenLeadership training7-11 October 2019
UNODAExpert consultant workshop (virtual)3-4 November 2020
GermanyTable-top exercise (virtual)9-13 November 2020
GermanyTable-top exercises (virtual)24 August – 1 September 2021
GermanyHazardous environment awareness training refresher16-19 November 2021
South AfricaBasic training20 June – 1 July 2022
GermanyCapstone (Field Exercise)19-28 September 2022
INTERPOL & CanadaBiological crime scene management training27 February – 3 March 2023
South AfricaBasic training26 June – 7 July 2023
Germany & CanadaSampling and transport of infectious substances training19-23 September 2023
FranceBasic training25 September – 6 October 2023
UNDSSSafe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments (SSAFE)26 November – 2 December 2023
IICI, VERTIC & United StatesInvestigative Interview Skills5-9 February 2024

Laboratory Quality Assurance Exercises (EQAEs)

UNSGM-designated laboratories may be called upon by the Secretary-General to participate in interlaboratory calibration studies or external quality assessment exercises (EQAEs) so as the establish the validity and accuracy of their analytical methods in order to ensure the expertise necessary, e.g., in the analysis of samples received from the site of the alleged use.

Further information on EQAEs for UNSGM-designated laboratories can be found below.

Member State/ OrganizationExercise DatesStatus 
Denmark and Sweden/ Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI)Dry lab analysis of genomic sequence data from bacteria2016-2018Completed
Germany/Robert Koch Institute (RKI)RefBio Project 2017-2027Ongoing
Germany, United States, Denmark and Sweden/ RKI, DTU and FOIDry lab analysis of sequence data from viruses2021-2022Completed
China/State Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control (SKLID)“Disease X” Exercise2022Completed
China/National High Containment Facilities for Animal Disease Control and Prevention, Harbin Veterinary Institute (HVRI)“Future Pandemics Testing” Exercise2023-2024Ongoing