Biological agents neither recognize nor respect political or geographic boundaries. Naturally-occurring and self-replicating, they pose a unique threat to global security.

The Global Partnership Biological Security Working Group

When establishing the Global Partnership at the 2002 Kananaskis Summit, Leaders recognized the risks associated with biological weapons and highlighted the importance of cooperative solutions to address biological threats.

Consistent with the Kananaskis Principles and Guidelines, biological security has become a core priority for the Global Partnership, with members working to prevent the deliberate use of biological agents and to address unique biological security and safety challenges around the world.

Strengthening Global Biological Security


  • Secure and account for materials that represent biological proliferation risks

  • Develop and maintain appropriate and effective measures to prevent, prepare for, detect and disrupt the deliberate misuse of biological agents

  • Strengthen national and international capabilities to rapidly identify, confirm/assess and respond to biological attacks

  • Reinforce and strengthen the BTWC and other biological disarmament and non-proliferation obligations, principles, practices and instruments

  • Reduce biological proliferation risks through the advancement and promotion of safe and responsible conduct


Member countries of the Global Partnership (GP) are committed to implementing concrete projects around the world to combat biological-related terrorism and proliferation. The GP has identified strengthening biological security as a key priority for collective programming efforts, and pursues activities that aim to:

These GP “Deliverables”, which aim to build global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to deliberate disease threats, are consistent with and mutually reinforcing of other international initiatives and conventions, including the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).

To advance its biosecurity and biological threat reduction objectives, the Global Partnership is implementing a new Signature Initiative to Mitigate Biological Threats in Africa. The aim of the initiative, which is being developed and implemented in the closest collaboration with African partners, is to reduce bio-threats through the aligned activities of GP and African countries working towards the same goals.

BSWG Chair

The unprecedented pace of global scientific development, the dual-use nature of biological materials and technologies, combined with the stated aim of terrorist groups and/or states of proliferation concern to launch biological attacks, contribute to the significant international security threats posed by biological proliferation and terrorism.

Although less-publicized and under-addressed compared to other WMD concerns, biological weapons and materials pose a significant and growing threat to global security.


Alessandro MARCELLO, PhD

Head of Laboratory of Molecular Virology

International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)