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04-September-2007 via Agbios
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The conference, which will be held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of (EAD), will convene experts from around the world to discuss enhancing public health, safety and security against biological risks.

While around the world, risks to public safety and security have increased, most developed countries, already at the center of the global biotechnology industry, have established domestic biosafety regimes. However, many developing countries are only now starting to establish their own national systems.

“We need to build a global network between governments, international organizations, universities and private companies associated with the life sciences. Through this network, we can develop and share best practices in research and activities,” said Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of EAD.

The conference will feature presentations on best practices, standards and training in biosafety and biosecurity and success stories for national and trans-national disease surveillance networks. Special attention will be paid to identifying priority areas for the Gulf and MENA region and developing an action plan for future work.

“I expect that this conference will result in the sustained engagement of experts from the countries involved and will lead to practical improvements in biosafety and biosecurity and enhanced infectious disease surveillance,” said Terence Taylor, President and Director of the ICLS.

It is worthwhile to note that the International Council for the Life Sciences (ICLS), a non-profit, membership-based organization, is dedicated to enhancing biological safety and security by safeguarding advances in the life sciences and facilitating partnerships between governments, international inter-governmental organizations and the life sciences community.

The Conference will cover 4 main themes: Framing the Challenge: The Full Spectrum of Biological Risks; Disease Surveillance Networks; Enhancing Biosafety and Biosecurity: Global and Local Contexts; and Education and Training for Biosafety and Biosecurity.

Conference Themes

  1. Framing the Challenge: The Full Spectrum of Biological Risks
    • Public Policy and the Role of Governments
    • Naturally Occurring and Emerging Infectious Diseases in Middle East, Gulf and North Africa
    • Regional Perspectives on Biosecurity and Biosafety
  2. Disease Surveillance Networks
    • Setting Up and Maintaining Trans-national Disease Surveillance Networks
    • National Efforts
    • Information Exchange
  3. Enhancing Biosafety and Biosecurity: Global and Local Contexts
    • Biosafety and Biosecurity Management in the Animal and Human Health Communities
    • Biosafety and Biosecurity in the United Arab Emirates
  4. Education and Training for Biosafety and Biosecurity
    • Hands-On Training Programs Using a Mock Biosafety Level 3 & 4 Laboratory
    • Drafting Textbooks and Other Written Training Materials
    • Roles of National Biological Safety Associations

A panel discussion will be held on November 14 (last day of the Conference). All invited participants will be encouraged to contribute to this session. A set of recommendations will be produced from their inputs. This outcome will form the basis for a post-conference follow-up process on a national, regional and global basis.

Conference participation is by invitation only however conference attendance is open to the general public. Laboratory directors, scientists, Epidemiologists, university students and policymakers interested in enhancing biological safety and security are all encouraged to attend. To attend the Conference, please register at before September 5, 2007.

What is Biosafety?

It is the prevention of large-scale loss of biological integrity, focusing both on ecology and human health.

Biosafety is related to several fields:

  • Ecology
  • Agriculture
  • Medicine
  • Chemistry
  • Exobiology

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was the first international agreement to regulate the transboundary movements of genetically engineered (GE) organisms. This Protocol is a subsidiary agreement to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was signed by over 150 governments at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The Protocol itself came into force in September 2003. Now, 100 countries have signed up. The Protocol requires that countries are informed and agree in advance to imports of GE crops.

What is Biosecurity?

A biosecurity guarantee attempts to ensure that ecologies (including natural habitats) sustaining either people or animals are maintained.

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