Seminar entitled “Advances in technologies for surveillance, detection, diagnosis and mitigation of infectious diseases and similar occurrences caused by toxins in humans, animals and plants: an international forum on biosecurity” in Warsaw
6 December 2013
The seminar was co-organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland. Its main goal was to promote international cooperation between the public health sector, law enforcement officers, and the authorities responsible for security issues. The framework for the seminar was the prevention, rapid identification of an outbreak’s source, and the tracing of its origin. Furthermore, the meeting was an excellent opportunity to exchange opinions and experiences among the experts present about epidemic surveillance and microbial forensics, as well as about education programs on biosafety and biosecurity concerns. The seminar was addressed mainly to the representatives of the public health sector, including medical doctors and epidemiologists, those from the national security sector, and representatives from institutions dealing with public health and bioterrorism.
Workshop on Public Health and Biological Risk in Warsaw
5 December 2013
The meeting was a collaboration among the Polish Academy of Sciences, the IAP Biosecurity Working Group, and the Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland. It was also co-organized with Global Health and Security Consultants (GHSC).
Applying the risk management in the laboratory means identifying, assessing and managing of all potential risks in the work place by any laboratory manager, researcher and personnel before beginning of the work. Every time a new experiment is to be carried out, a risk assessment must be performed and documented by the researcher in consultation with the supervisor. This was the reason for organizing a half-day workshop on Biological Risk Assessment for microbiologists, epidemiologists and public health experts working in the Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. The workshop included a welcome and introductory remark by Col. Dr Janusz Kocik, the director of the Institute followed by a detailed presentation on objectives, and process of risk assessment by Dr Ali Mohammadi, President of GHSC. Then the participants were divided into three groups and worked on three public health risk case studies. The group coordinators presented their evaluation of the cases followed by discussion by all participants. At the end the participants received a certificate of attendance from Dr Mohammadi.
WHO Informal Consultation on Dual-Use Research of Concern – DURC in Geneva
26-28 February 2013
The World Health Organisation convened an informal consultation on the broader issues regarding Dual-Use Research of Concern (DURC). The objective of this meeting was to share perspectives on key issues and concerns related to DURC, identify existing approaches and safeguards for managing DURC, and consider critical gaps and actions to initiate. Stakeholders from public health, science, research policy, security, ethics, communications and international agencies were invited to participate. Professor Andrzej Górski, Vice-President of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Coordinator of the Programme on Biosecurity, took part in the consultation. He also served as the rapporteur for a working group on education and outreach that was part of the consultation. Other IAP participants included representatives from the academies of Nigeria, India, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and the United States.
Meeting of the State Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of the Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction - Meeting of Experts in Geneva
12-16 August 2013
The Polish delegation comprised of six representatives, including prof. Ryszard Słomski, who acted
as a delegate and a non-governmental organisation representative. The main issues considered
at the Meeting of Experts encompassed strengthening of cooperation and help on the basis of Article X of the Convention; review of achievements in science and technologies connected with the Convention and strengthening cooperation between countries, as well as how to increase their participation in the Confidence-Building Measures. Prof. Słomski presented a standpoint of the Biosecurity Working Group of IAP, a non-governmental organisation: The Global Network
of Science Academies and also gave a lecture „Advances in Technologies for Detection of Infectious Diseases”.
Meeting of States Parties
10-14 December 2012
The Working Group again presented a statement during the time set aside in plenary for non-governmental organizations. MD, PhD Janusz Kocik, the head of Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, delivered on the 10th of December 2012 the statement on behalf of the Polish Academy and Professor Górski, in which he presented the Group’s accomplishments from the last year.
On the 11th of December 2012 PhD Cezary Lusiński, Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative of Poland in Geneva, who served as the vice-chairman of the BWC in 2012, graciously invited the Biosecurity Working Group to hold its strategic planning meeting at the Polish Mission in Geneva during the Meeting of States Parties. Professor Andrzej Górski discussed the Group’s current tasks and future plans. On the same day, a conference concerning IAP BWG and recent accomplishments of the Member Academies within the framework of education and ‘dual use’ awareness raising was held in the Palais des Nations. This conference was organised as a side event at BWC Meeting of States Parties. During this part of the meeting Professor Górski presented the contribution of Polish Academy of Sciences to IAP’s work (Polish Academy of Sciences organized following international conferences, thematically connected with the activities’ program of the Group: Advancement of Science and the Dilemma of Dual Use – Why We Can’t Afford to Fail and Promoting Education on Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences). Furthermore, Professor Górski emphasized the significance of Russian Academy of Sciences’ entry to BWG, what considerably strengthens both the Group’s position on international stage and potential effectiveness of its activity. There was also a lunchtime side event in which members of the Working Group spoke about the activities of the Working Group and their academies in biosecurity.