2009 LAUREATE: SPIEZ LABORATORY

Spiez Laboratory is the Swiss institute for protection against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) threats and hazards. The laboratory forms part of the Swiss Office for Civil Protection and deals with the scientific and technical aspects of hazards associated with nuclear, biological and chemical incidents. Over the past 10 years, Spiez Laboratory has offered in-kind support to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), providing invaluable assistance to UNEP’s Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch for its Disasters and Conflicts operations, including the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit and its Disasters and Conflicts operations.

The laboratory has been instrumental in providing support in the form of sample analyses and other post-conflict needs assessment-related work. In the past decade, the institute has analyzed thousands of samples for potential contamination and assisted UNEP in an array of capacity-building activities, including in areas affected by environmental disasters. Notable post-disaster and conflict management operations the institute has been involved in and provided invaluable support for include : the Balkans, Iraq, Lebanon, Kuwait and Liberia. In addition to making a significant contribution to UNEP’s post-conflict need assessments and to the protection of local communities and the environment, the organization participates in UN missions to assess and inspect exposure to radiation in crisis-affected regions.

As a result of this long-standing partnership, UNEP has become a loyal client  and often calls on the organization’s world class services. Since 2008, Spiez Laboratory has been heavily involved in UNEP’s ongoing project in Côte d’Ivoire through the delivery of a series of capacity-building lectures to the Centre Ivorian Anti-Pollution Laboratory by some of the organization’s leading international experts.