This page contains links to resources which may facilitate national implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention. Items are included as a service to States Parties and their inclusion does not imply endorsement. The views and opinions in the publications are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ISU or States Parties. The ISU is not responsible for the content of third party websites.
Guide to implementing the Biological Weapons Convention
The Guide to Implementing the Biological Weapons Convention has been developed by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, (UNODA), with the support of the European Union and Norway and the contributions of a wide range of BWC experts, to assist States Parties in their efforts to implement the Convention at the national level. Its aim is to provide practical guidance to BWC national contact points and other responsible officials on the implementation of the BWC in the national legal and institutional frameworks in fulfilment of their State’s obligations under the Convention. This Guide does not, however, pretend to be exhaustive or to comprehensively reflect all possible implementing measures. It is intended only as a practical aid and has no formal status; the suggestions included herein as well as the descriptions of the BWC do not necessarily reflect the views of the States Parties to the BWC. In no case is this Guide intended to imply or confer any additional obligations on States Parties to the Convention.
Analytical Approach for the Development of a National Biosafety and Biosecurity System
The Public Health Agency of Canada developed an Analytical Approach for the Development of a National Biosafety and Biosecurity System. The Approach is a methodology that can be used by regional, national or local authorities in the development or modernization, and implementation of national policies and oversight frameworks for biosafety and biosecurity. Recognizing that each country and region has unique needs, processes and capabilities, the Analytical Approach has a modular and flexible format that enables countries and regions to work through the methodology independently and at their own pace. The tool is available for use as both a downloadable manual and an online e-learning course in English and French by creating a free account on the Agency’s training portal.
In addition, the PHAC’s training portal includes many other free courses including the newly published Insider and Outsider Threat course. With innovation and technological advancements, information and knowledge related to biological research is increasingly being stolen and misused by those who wish to cause harm or advance their economic competitiveness. This course describes the motives, tactics, and indicators of insider and outsider threats. It proposes mitigation strategies which aim to reduce the occurrence of biosecurity events associated with insider and outsider threats.
Enhancing Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories
The U.S. Public Health Service Centers for Disease and the Control and Prevention joined the National Institutes of Health in publishing the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories 6th Edition (BMBL), as an advisory document recommending best practices for the safe conduct of work in biomedical and clinical laboratories from a biosafety perspective. The core principle of the BMBL is protocol-driven risk assessment, thus BMBL should be used as a tool in the assessment and proposed mitigation steps in biomedical and clinical laboratories. Specifically, this edition includes new appendices on the following topics: inactivation and verification; laboratory sustainability; large-scale biosafety; and clinical laboratory biosafety.
Strengthening the Culture of Biosafety and Biosecurity
The International Working Group (IWG) on Strengthening the Culture of Biosafety and Biosecurity issued a working version of the framework for assessing (or self-assessing) the organizational culture of biosafety, biosecurity and responsible conduct in the life sciences.
The accompanying data entry tool is available here. Furthermore the IWG prepared ‘A Guide to Training and Information Resources on the Culture of Biosafety, Biosecurity, and Responsible Conduct in the Life Sciences‘
EU Non-Proliferation Consortium’s e-learning module on biological weapons
The e-learning units were launched in 2017; minor updates take place on an on-going basis.
Basic Certificates are awarded on completion of the first five Learning Units, and a Comprehensive Certificate is awarded on completion of all fifteen Learning Units.
The learning unit aims to introduce students to the technical, historical, political and legal dimensions of biological weapons.
On completion, students will have a basic understanding of:
the technical foundations of biological weapons
historical biological weapons programmes
the nature of bioterrorism
the political context
the international legal framework
The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium’s e-learning module on biological weapons is available at https://nonproliferation-elearning.eu/learningunits/biological-weapons/
EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament e-learning course
The Consortium also has a much broader set of e-learning units on arms control and disarmament available at https://nonproliferation-elearning.eu
“Biosecurity for the Next Generation: Responding to biological risks in the 21st century”
In conjunction with Bath University and funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Biosecure has developed a massive open online course on biosecurity for life science students. The course is free to join and can be accessed via the FutureLearn platform.
Spread over six weeks, the course is specifically designed to provide students and young professionals in the biosciences, bioengineering and security sectors with a comprehensive understanding of:
- the biosecurity challenges inherent in the life sciences
- local, national and international responses to these biological risks
- the role and contribution of biological scientists and engineers in making sure that science and technology is used safely and securely
All course materials, including videos, quizzes and case studies, are free to download and share, and can be incorporated into university courses as either standard teaching tools or the course can be used as part of a flipped learning approach.
Registration for the course can be found here: www.futurelearn.com/courses/biosecurity. The course will also run on additional dates throughout the year.
Preventing Biological Threats: What You Can Do:
A Guide to Biological Security Issues and How to Address Them
This publication was produced by the Bradford Disarmament Research Centre and first published in December 2015. It is intended to raise awareness and knowledge of biological security for everyone active in the life sciences, ranging from those engaged in research to those engaged in management and policy-making, both nationally and internationally. A key objective of this book is to provide university life-science lecturers and students with a resource to enhance university biosecurity education around the world.
The 21 chapters, by a range of leading international experts, are organised into six sections, built around a central focus on the responsibilities of scientists for biosecurity, and serve to give a proper context for understanding what is at stake in the coming decades. This book is intended to contribute to an understanding of the problems of wider biological security beyond the laboratory door, and the less familiar aspects of responsible scientific conduct.
The accompanying Biological Security Education Handbook (available below) combines teaching material with an active team-based learning approach to empower educators, students and practitioners as they begin to engage with biological security. It aims to supplement this Guide by providing its users with tips and insights into how to implement its content in different educational settings.
This book was funded by the Global Partnership Programmes of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) Canada and the United Kingdom, and is available to download and use free of charge. The Spanish translation of the Guide was produced as a courtesy by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Biological Security Education Handbook: The Power of Team-Based Learning
This publication was produced by the Bradford Disarmament Research Centre and first published in January 2016. This book is available to download and use free of charge. This book was funded through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) Canada and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD). The Spanish translation of the Handbook was produced as a courtesy by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
An efficient and practical approach to Biosecurity
Danish Centre for Biosecurity and Biopreparedness
This book was created by the Danish Centre for Biosecurity and Biopreparedness—Denmark’s National Biosecurity Agency—as an aid to those countries that are still in the process of establishing national biosecurity systems. The book was supported through a collaboration between the CBB and the Danish ministries of defence, foreign affairs and health. The aim of the book is to draw upon Denmark’s experiences with biosecurity to suggest an efficient and practical model that other countries can use—in whole or in part—as a blueprint for establishing or improving their own biosecurity systems.
The Dutch Biosecurity Office has developed two toolkits that can be helpful to provide an indication of the current level of biosecurity. These toolkits are intended for organisations that work with biological agents or come into regular contact with them. Both toolkits were developed in collaboration with a multidisciplinary expert group on biosecurity.
The Dutch Biosecurity Office has produced a short video (see below) which explains biosecurity management by introducing eight elements of biosecurity, the so called ‘biosecurity pillars’, to provide insight and guidance to improve biosecurity within your organisation. The eight pillars of biosecurity are – awareness, personnel reliability, transport security, information security, accountability for materials, response, management, and physical measures. This film is useful for persons that are directly or indirectly involved in handling dangerous pathogens and high risk biological material.
Global Health Security Index
The Global Health Security (GHS) Index is the first comprehensive assessment of global health security capabilities in 195 countries. The GHS Index is a project of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHU) and was developed with The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). These organizations believe that, over time, the GHS Index will spur measurable changes in national health security and improve international capability to address one of the world’s most omnipresent risks: infectious disease outbreaks that can lead to international epidemics and pandemics.
CATALOGUE OF CIVIL SOCIETY ASSISTANCE TO STATES PARTIES
In Support of Article X of The Biological Weapons Convention
The 2023 Catalogue of Civil Society Assistance Programs highlights civil society’s contributions to the BWC and States Parties, including through initiatives to enhance biological safety and security around the world. In addition to organization and project descriptions, the information provided in this catalogue includes points of contact for each program to facilitate stronger connections between civil society and State Parties in need of assistance.
This catalogue is compiled by Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science and Security (GHSS) and The Henry L. Stimson Center. Additionally, material contained in the catalogue will be included in the Stimson Center’s 1540 Assistance Support Initiative Database (https://1540assistance.stimson.org) and the catalogue published on the GHSS and Stimson Center’s website.
Biosecurity Central is a publicly available web-based library with key sources of information and resources in biosecurity. The library is a searchable and filterable database designed to enable ready access to biosafety and biosecurity resources from around the globe, published by governmental, international, and non-governmental organizations.
Biosafety and Biosafety Handbook For Students in Nigeria
The need to provide basic biosecurity and biosafety education is not only recommended but timely to inculcate a culture of safety, security, and responsibility within the next generation of scientists. There is an increase in scientific experimentation in Secondary schools in Nigeria. Hence, the need for students to be aware of best biosafety practices and the risks associated with working in the laboratory.
Creating awareness and promoting inclusion of biosecurity and biosafety education in schools, we, the Youth for Biosecurity 2021 and 2022 Cohort- Nigeria Participants came together to produce this Biosafety and Biosecurity handbook.