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VERTIC participates in regional and national kick-off meetings in Central Asia under EU CBRN CoE Project 53

VERTIC’s Director for National Implementation, Scott Spence, participated in a number of meetings, during 26 January through 3 February, under Project 53 of the EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative: “Strengthening The National Legal Framework and Provision of Specialized Training on Bio-Safety and Bio-Security in Central Asian Countries”. The Project 53 consortium consists of experts from VERTIC (UK), Public Health England (PHE) (UK), Sustainable Criminal Justice Solutions (SCJS) (UK), the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) (Netherlands) and the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) (Kazakhstan). Mr Spence is Project 53’s Key Expert-Legal.

The first meeting was a National Kick-off Meeting for Mongolia, which took place in Ulaanbaatar during 26-27 January. The objectives of the meeting were to introduce the scope of Project 53 (including harmonisation of legislation for biosafety, biosecurity and biorisk as well as bringing local training up to international standards); to introduce ISTC and the European team of experts to the national CBRN Centres of Excellence working group and to create a National Team of Experts to participate in the Project.

The next meeting took place in Astana, Kazakhstan during 30 January with the same objectives as the Mongolia meeting, as well as to encourage and identify local stakeholders interested in engaging with the Project.

The final meeting was a Regional Kick-off Meeting, which took place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan during 2-3 February. The participating countries were Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The objectives of the meeting were to introduce the Project country experts to one another; for the Project countries to present on the status of implementation of Project 53 (in the areas of harmonising legislation for biosafety, biosecurity and biorisk and adjusting local training to international standards); and to begin developing the platform for regional emergency response to biological incidents.

Project 53 was conceived and funded within the framework of the EU CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative. The CoE currently covers eight regions and 54 partner countries. The EU CBRN CoE Secretariat for Central Asia is based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. It works in partnership with countries to encourage local ownership of CBRN action plans, policies and joint preparation of regional project proposals.