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NIM Programme Director participates in Second Regional Meeting for EU CBRN Centres of Excellence Project 53

VERTIC’s Programme Director for National Implementation, Scott Spence, participated in the Second Project 53 Regional Meeting: Strengthening the National Legal Framework and Provision of Specialized Training on Bio-Safety and Bio-Security in Central Asian Countries, which took place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan during 2-3 November. The Project 53 consortium consists of international 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 participating countries in the second regional meeting were Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The objectives of the meeting were to:

  • strengthen regional cooperation among P53 partner countries;
  • hear the project countries present on ways the project has provided a basis for interaction within the region;
  • have the EU Team of Experts share their experience on how countries within the European Union interface and communicate in cases of biological emergencies, including through joint field and table-top exercises and use of key legal definitions;
  • learn the status of implementation of Project 53 in the project countries including:
    • the status and operation of the team of national experts (TNE)
    • how project countries are harmonizing local legislation/regulations/guidelines/standards according to international standards and norms related to biosafety/biosecurity/biorisk management (One Health approach)
    • how the project countries are adjusting local training to international training standards, through:
      • training of trainers on providing biosafety/biosecurity/biorisk management training to different kind of specialists, experts, medical staff, emergency response staff, scientists;
      • providing equipment, and materials for training centres;
    • how project countries are providing specific training to specialists, experts, medical staff, emergency response staff, scientists, etc. on biosafety/biosecurity/biorisk management issues that they encounter in their work;
    • how project countries are stimulating regional cooperation on biosafety and biosecurity;
  • continue developing the platform for regional emergency response to biological incidents.

Mr Spence updated the participants on the status of Work Package 1 (Assessment and revision of the national legislations and best practices in the area of biosafety and biosecurity, and harmonization with the appropriate international regulations such as IHR, BTWC and Codex Alimentarius including the area of regional emergency response with the aim of coming to a “One Health” system). He also gave a presentation on Emergency Response Planning in Central Asia: Common Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperation.

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.