Experts from developing countries gather in Trieste to learn about science diplomacy, biosecurity and virus detection in the framework of the Biological Weapons Convention

March 21st, 2024

From 4 to 8 March 2024, the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), together with The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), organised a joint capacity-building course on science diplomacy, biosecurity and virus detection in the framework of Article X of the BWC in Trieste, Italy.

Under Article X, States Parties undertake to cooperate in contributing with other States or international organisations to the further development and application of scientific discoveries in the field of biology for the prevention of disease, or for other peaceful purposes.

Fourteen experts, seven of them women, from 14 developing BWC States Parties (Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Thailand, Türkiye, Uganda and Uzbekistan), participated in the course. Selected participants were mainly mid-career professional experts with backgrounds in molecular biology, microbiology, virology and infectious diseases representing national research or academic institutes that deal with disease outbreaks.

Participants preparing a sample for RT-qPCR diagnostic technique in the ICGEB laboratories.

The event started with a two-day course at TWAS headquarters, which focused on science diplomacy and the role of scientists in the context of the BWC. Participants also practiced with different scenarios in two tabletop exercises about science diplomacy and biosecurity.

Participants performing an exercise with Nanopore MinION (ONT) instrument in the ICGEB laboratories.

The course was further enriched with presentations by participants from Bangladesh, Kenya and Tanzania on national and regional challenges of virus detection and the implementation of biosecurity regulations. Experts from the ICGEB scientific partners’ network also shared their experiences in establishing diagnostic laboratories and implementing diagnostic techniques in Cameroon, Moldova and Slovenia.

The course was organised with the financial support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Finland. The contributions from Finland and Norway aim specifically to provide technical assistance to developing BWC States Parties and foster cooperation on issues relating to the implementation of Article X.