This meeting will be a launch event held online of a continent-wide program to enhance biosecurity. As the first host country to the initiative, we will focus our meeting on advancing and strengthening South Africa’s biosafety and biosecurity system capabilities and its leadership role in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Africa-CDC Regional Collaborating Centre headquartered in Zambia, to prevent natural, accidental, or deliberate biological events. Discussions will focus on the need for comprehensive legislative action, adequate and sustained system financing, and strategic communications to build the necessary political will for domestic advancement as well as regional and continental leadership.
Meeting objectives include:
- Developing a common understanding of the methods required to prevent accidental and deliberate biological events given the risk environment in the Southern African region, including emerging biological risks, especially those posed by dual-use research and rapid advances in biotechnology.
- Enabling effective development, financing, and communication strategies for comprehensive policies and legislative actions using the Africa CDC Biosafety and Biosecurity Legislative Framework as a guide for domestic implementation.
- Advocating for the advancement of Biosafety and Biosecurity into a recognized professional programme though the establishment of a Regional Training and Certification Programme for Biosafety and Biosecurity Experts to build a workforce required for surge capacity in the Africa region.
- Identifying, minimizing, and removing where possible the barriers and obstacles to data and information sharing during routine and surge periods and developing legal and ethical public policy tools to gather and share epidemic and biological risk intelligence as a part of building regional advance warning systems; and
Advocating for the building of strong multi-sectoral Southern African leadership to develop and expand regional capabilities to prevent and mitigate natural, accidental, or deliberate biological events within the context of Africa CDC’s Biosafety and Biosecurity Initiative.
In partnership with Global Partnership against WMD, Global Affairs Canada, AU, Africa CDC and NTI
Wilton Park reference number: WP1995V