Abu Dhabi: The inaugural National Forum for Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Experts, organised by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) and Khalifa University of Science and Technology, was held today in Abu Dhabi.
The forum aims to advance research, development, and innovation to enhance the role of experts in the emergency and crisis management network, aligning with the UAE’s commitment to fostering knowledge and expertise in this field.
The one-day forum, held at the Khalifa University Main Campus, was attended by Sarah Bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, who delivered the keynote address. Hamad Saif Al Kaabi, director of the Hazardous Materials Incidents Department at NCEMA, also addressed the gathering.
Minister Sara said: “This system aims to enhance the readiness and expertise of professionals in various vital and priority fields. It supports research centres, laboratories, and national efforts to develop existing sectors and establish new ones. The system also promotes research in areas such as response and rescue capabilities, pre-planning, preparedness measures, scenario assessment, testing solutions, and verifying outcomes.”
She also highlighted the integrative role played by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology in collaboration with entities like NCEMA and academic and research institutions such as Khalifa University. She emphasised the importance of partnerships with the private sector in exchanging knowledge and expertise in research and development, shaping a sustainable future aligned with the UAE’s vision, and enhancing its regional and international competitiveness.
The minister acknowledged the significant role of NCEMA and the valuable information presented in the National Guide for Research and Studies on Hazardous Materials and Operations. Collaborative efforts with academic institutions like Khalifa University empower national institutions to effectively manage crises and develop innovative solutions. This strengthens the UAE’s capabilities to navigate various transformations and equips future generations with the necessary expertise in these fields.
The forum saw the participation of numerous scientists, researchers, and industry experts specialising in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) materials from around the world. The Dubai Police Scientists Council presented essential research and studies in the field of hazardous materials, while a panel discussion provided insights into the challenges and opportunities of research.
Obaid Rashid Al Hosan Al Shamsi, Vice President of NCEMA, highlighted the importance of the National Forum for Hazardous Materials Experts.
“This gathering of experts aims to enrich the national system for emergency and crisis management with specialized knowledge, focusing on assessing and studying risks and threats related to hazardous materials. The contributions of partners within the national system are crucial in effectively managing hazardous materials incidents, employing their capabilities, and addressing challenges and potential risks proactively,” Al Shamsi said.
Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of Khalifa University, said: “The exchange of knowledge and discussions at the forum are expected to benefit key stakeholders, including decision-makers and regulatory agencies operating in this area.”
During the forum, NCEMA presented details on the ‘National directory for research and studies of hazardous materials accidents and operations’. The National Data Centre provided information on the ‘Analytical platform of national resources for research centres, laboratories, and experts for hazardous materials incidents’.
Khalifa University shared research and studies in hazardous materials, and UAE University presented information on research selection and arbitration methods in this field. The Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) focused on research and study selection and funding methods, and the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research also made notable contributions.
The panel discussion covered a wide range of areas, including scientific research in various disciplines, public health, animal health, environment, risk assessment, prediction and modelling, technologies for improved detection and response, artificial intelligence, foresight studies, comparison and best practices, strategic studies, and behavioural and cultural studies influencing emergency response.
The forum served as a platform for networking and collaboration among stakeholders to identify priority areas for research and studies, with the aim of addressing challenges and improving emergency management in terms of prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery.