Issue

Biological events, when not met with adequate levels of prevention and preparedness, can have significant public health, social, and financial consequences. The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West-Africa killed over 11,000 people and had consequences far beyond countries’ health systems, including political and socioeconomic ramifications. According to World Bank statistics, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone lost $2.2 billion in forgone economic growth in 2015 because of the epidemic.

The expansion of infrastructure and resources dedicated to working with biological agents and living systems increases the need to ensure proper biosafety (unintentional release) and biosecurity (intentional release) to protect researchers and the community. The risk of a catastrophic biological event continues to be magnified by global travel, urbanization, terrorist interest in weapons of mass destruction, and rapid advances in technology that may result facilitate the creation or manipulation of pathogens with pandemic potential.

Mandate

This Action Package seeks to advance global biosafety and biosecurity, in support of various international instruments and agreements, including IHR, the Biological Weapons Convention, and UNSCR 1540.

Strategic Objectives

  • Promote full compliance with biosafety and biosecurity targets as outlined in the Biosafety and Biosecurity Action Package and the indicators from the World Health Organization’s Joint External Evaluation (JEE) tool, the World Organization for Animal Health Performance of Veterinary Service Pathway, through active participation in relevant fora, membership growth, and regular dialogue.
  • Track actions and progress to achieve the biosafety and biosecurity targets of the GHSA and indicators of the WHO JEE tool and/or OIE PVS, by collaborating with NTI on the Global Biosecurity Dialogue across three major action areas (policy frameworks, capability development, and emerging biological risks).
  • Act as a liaison between donors and recipients, pairing committed countries looking for support to donor countries seeking to direct resources towards effective capacity building. This could be done by partnering with ongoing efforts within the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (GP) Biosecurity Working Group (BSWG) and will incorporate recommendations from the NTI Global Biosecurity Dialogue.

Country Commitments

Contributing Countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ghana, Germany, Indonesia, Jordan, Finland, Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America

Contributing International and Non-Governmental Organizations: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), World Health Organization (WHO), International Federation of Biosafety Associations, iGEM Foundation, VERTIC, Nuclear Threat Initiative, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute