BIOSECURITY THREAT ASSESSMENT IN LATIN AMERICA: CICTE/OAS AND UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND LAUNCHED NEW RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS

While the level of terrorist threats to biosecurity in Latin America remains relatively low, implementing internal measures and national biosafety and biosecurity regulations in laboratories and research centers is crucial. This is an essential step to prevent both intentional and unintentional biological accidents, mitigate risks, and prepare adequate responses in the event of an accident. Despite the experiences of the H1N1 epidemic in 2009 and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic, the region has shown vulnerability to biological threats.

The project titled "Strengthening Biosafety and Biosecurity in Latin America in line with Resolution 1540," conducted over the past years by the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the Organization of American States (CICTE/OAS) with the support of the European Union, aimed to lay the foundations for a stronger biosafety culture. The project also sought to create a Latin American network of expertise and strengthen biosafety and biosecurity standards and measures across the region.

In the context of the project, CICTE/OAS collaborated with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. This collaboration resulted in the development of two free online courses in Spanish for laboratory personnel and, more recently, a series of publications showcasing the findings and results of a regional survey of potential biosecurity threats in Latin America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This two-pronged effort included a comprehensive biosecurity threat assessment of the Central and South American region and four country-level threat assessments for Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Panama. These texts, in Spanish and English, provide a high-level assessment of the region for policy-focused individuals and those responsible for working in or managing the activities of laboratories, reviewing the current situation and assessing future challenges.

By way of background, a 2013 initial publication issued in Spanish, covered the scope and interrelationship of various biosafety and biosecurity concepts, existing international obligations to biosecurity through the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and UN Security Council Resolution 1540, the application of biosecurity across different facility types, and biosecurity risks such as proliferation, bioterrorism, agroterrorism, and bio-crime. Additionally, the publication discusses the five pillars and mechanisms of biosecurity and their application in the region.

The four countries featured in these studies have demonstrated a strong commitment to bio-risk reduction at all levels of the public and private sectors in creating safer environments. CICTE/OAS has facilitated cooperation within various funded programs, including peer review exercises and sub-regional and national workshops on biosafety and biosecurity. These reports aim to contribute to further strengthening controls and developing safer activities in handling biological agents to reduce security risks.

It is expected that these works will serve as effective tools for other countries in the region moving in a similar direction, aiding them in consolidating regulatory and control mechanisms in accordance with established international standards. CICTE/OAS expresses gratitude to the experts who participated in the project, sharing their knowledge and experiences, as well as the national authorities of all the involved countries for their trust, solid commitment, and ongoing work in strengthening compliance with international obligations.

Through these publications, CICTE/OAS reaffirms its traditional institutional support for the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The organization continues to express its willingness to collaborate in efforts aimed at ensuring greater regional security from multiple perspectives for all countries in the Americas.

The publications can be found and downloaded here: https://www.oas.org/ext/es/seguridad/unscr1540

 

 

 

BIOSECURITY THREAT ASSESSMENT IN LATIN AMERICA: CICTE/OAS AND UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND LAUNCHED NEW RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS

While the level of terrorist threats to biosecurity in Latin America remains relatively low, implementing internal measures and national biosafety and biosecurity regulations in laboratories and research centers is crucial. This is an essential step to prevent both intentional and unintentional biological accidents, mitigate risks, and prepare adequate responses in the event of an accident. Despite the experiences of the H1N1 epidemic in 2009 and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic, the region has shown vulnerability to biological threats.

The project titled "Strengthening Biosafety and Biosecurity in Latin America in line with Resolution 1540," conducted over the past years by the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the Organization of American States (CICTE/OAS) with the support of the European Union, aimed to lay the foundations for a stronger biosafety culture. The project also sought to create a Latin American network of expertise and strengthen biosafety and biosecurity standards and measures across the region.

In the context of the project, CICTE/OAS collaborated with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. This collaboration resulted in the development of two free online courses in Spanish for laboratory personnel and, more recently, a series of publications showcasing the findings and results of a regional survey of potential biosecurity threats in Latin America.

This two-pronged effort included a comprehensive biosecurity threat assessment of the Central and South American region and four country-level threat assessments for Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Panama. These texts, in Spanish and English, provide a high-level assessment of the region for policy-focused individuals and those responsible for working in or managing the activities of laboratories, reviewing the current situation and assessing future challenges.

By way of background, a 2013 initial publication issued in Spanish, covered the scope and interrelationship of various biosafety and biosecurity concepts, existing international obligations to biosecurity through the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and UN Security Council Resolution 1540, the application of biosecurity across different facility types, and biosecurity risks such as proliferation, bioterrorism, agroterrorism, and bio-crime. Additionally, the publication discusses the five pillars and mechanisms of biosecurity and their application in the region.

The four countries featured in these studies have demonstrated a strong commitment to bio-risk reduction at all levels of the public and private sectors in creating safer environments. CICTE/OAS has facilitated cooperation within various funded programs, including peer review exercises and sub-regional and national workshops on biosafety and biosecurity. These reports aim to contribute to further strengthening controls and developing safer activities in handling biological agents to reduce security risks.

It is expected that these works will serve as effective tools for other countries in the region moving in a similar direction, aiding them in consolidating regulatory and control mechanisms in accordance with established international standards. CICTE/OAS expresses gratitude to the experts who participated in the project, sharing their knowledge and experiences, as well as the national authorities of all the involved countries for their trust, solid commitment, and ongoing work in strengthening compliance with international obligations.

Through these publications, CICTE/OAS reaffirms its traditional institutional support for the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The organization continues to express its willingness to collaborate in efforts aimed at ensuring greater regional security from multiple perspectives for all countries in the Americas.

The publications can be found and downloaded here: https://www.oas.org/ext/es/seguridad/unscr1540