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VERTIC concludes work on EU CBRN CoE Project 53 on biosafety and biosecurity in Central Asia

VERTIC’s National Implementation Measures (NIM) team has concluded its work on the European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Centres of Excellence (EU CBRN CoE) Project 53 on biosafety and biosecurity in Central Asia.

Project 53 was implemented in close cooperation between the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) (Kazakhstan), the EU technical consultancy consortium including VERTIC (United Kingdom), Public Health England (PHE) (United Kingdom), the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) (the Netherlands), and led by Sustainable Criminal Justice Solutions (SCJS) (United Kingdom), as well as, National Teams of Experts from each of the seven Partner Countries (Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan). It aimed at strengthening biosafety and biosecurity by focusing on three main areas: awareness-raising, specialised training and legislation.

VERTIC led Project 53’s Work Package 1 on the assessment and revision of national legislation on biosafety and biosecurity and its harmonisation with relevant international instruments, such as the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention 1972 (BWC), the World Health Organisation’s International Health Regulations 2005 and Codex Alimentarius.

During the project, VERTIC and national experts jointly conducted a comprehensive analysis of existing legislation in each of the partner countries, summarised the findings and recommended gaps to be addressed. VERTIC also provided guidance and feedback on draft biosafety and biosecurity laws for Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. The draft law for the latter is under review by the Tajik government and parliament.

Work Package 1’s activities and findings were discussed during a number of regional and international events, including a conference on biosafety and biosecurity in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, a regional workshop on the BWC in Almaty, Kazakhstan, a BWC Meeting of Experts in Geneva, Switzerland, and a World Health Organisation Technical Consultation on Civilian and Military Collaboration in Hong Kong, SAR China. Most recently, at the Meeting of States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, Senior Legal Officer Yasemin Balci spoke about Project 53 during a side event organised by the EU, the Biosafety Association for Central Asia and Caucasus (BACAC) and the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC).

Finally, VERTIC produced two publications under Project 53.

  1. “Emergency Response Planning in Central Asia: Common Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperation” in English and Russian, and
  2. “National and Regional Strategies to Strengthen Legislation on Biosafety and Biosecurity in Central Asia”, in English and Russian.
  3. “Strengthening the implementation of Biosafety and Biosecurity international instruments in Central Asian Countries”, in VERTIC’s quarterly publication ‘Trust & Verify’.