Global South Biosecurity Networks

Aims and Objectives

This project aims to provide capacity-development opportunities for young scientists and academics from the Global South engaged in fields related to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The project will build upon successful initiatives such as UNODA’s Scholarship for Peace and expand upon them. This project will encourage the development of young professionals’ networks and capitalize on training material developed by the European Union, such as e-learning tools developed by the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium.

Implementation

The first biosecurity workshop was held in August 2019 in Vevey (Switzerland) in conjunction with the BWC Meeting of Experts on Science and Technology (MX2). The workshop brought together young scientists from the Global South in order to expose them to the concept of multilateral disarmament negotiations and enabling their engagement with diplomats and high-level experts in the field. Particular emphasis was placed on encouraging the participation of young women from the Global South.

The second biosecurity workshop is planned to be organized during 2020, again in conjunction with the BWC Meeting of Experts on Science and Technology (MX2).

This project builds upon activities carried out under the previous EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/51 which aimed at enhancing the interaction between the BWC process and non-governmental stakeholders, such as the scientific community and industry, through the organisation of regional workshops on scientific and technological issues and on biosafety and biosecurity.

The project directly engaged scientists and biosafety professionals in developing countries in order to raise awareness of the BWC, to develop capacities for more effective implementation of the BWC and to facilitate international cooperation for peaceful purposes. The workshops led to the development and strengthening of important expert networks in each region and to the preparation of working papers in some regions on the outcomes of their workshops.

Involving young female scientists in BWC science and technology discussions was one of the main objectives of the workshop.

Participants engaging in a simulation exercise designed to make them think strategically about how to conduct “science diplomacy” in response to an infectious disease outbreak.
Participants from the Global South in the Biosecurity Diplomacy workshop following one day of proceedings of the BWC Meeting of Experts on Science and Technology, 2 August 2019.