Global Biosecurity Challenges. Problems and Solutions

The III International Conference “Global Biosecurity Challenges. Problems and Solutions" was held in Sochi on 24-25 June 2021. Representatives of more than 30 countries met to discuss global biological security issues, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (hereinafter referred to as BTWC or the Convention), and lessons learned in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Dr. Anna Popova, Head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-being (Rospotrebnadzor) and the Chief State Sanitary Physician of the Russian Federation, emphasized the importance of exchangeing knowledge and experience between participants of the Conference, especially in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Dr. A. Popova, the BTWC represent an effective mechanism in countering global biological threats. But despite that, it is vital to increase the efficiency of this international mechanism. Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, in his speech encouraged states-parties to the Convention to renew their efforts on the BTWC verification protocol.

Ryabkov also noted a number of Russian proposals aimed at institutional strengthening of the BTWC. The establishment of mobile biomedical units being one of them. ”We assume that there would be a synergistic effect and significant savings given that the mobile units are multifunctional and applicable for accomplishing a wide range of objectives,” Ryabkov said underlining the advantages of mobile biomedical units. Participants were able to visit an exhibit of these mobile biomedical units during the Conference.

During the sessions, experts repeatedly emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic has improved the relevance of biological security and BTWC-related issues. Participants in the Conference paid considerable attention to the measures designed to strengthen the Convention in the run-up to the IX Review Conference of the States Parties to the BTWC-  no date has been set yet.

This is the third edition of the International Conference “Global Biosecurity Challenges. Problems and Solutions”. Traditionally, this event appeals to government officials, representatives of international organizations, experts, and leading scientists from around the world. This time participants marked the “Sochi spirit” of the Conference that stands for a conducive working environment favorable for multilateral dialogue. The importance of multilateral efforts in combating global biological threats was the center of discussions during the sessions.

Mariia Koroleva
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