Date: February 10, 2010
Source: Bio Prep Watch
Abstract: A pair of conferences over the next few weeks will enact a comprehensive review of the United States’ ability to reduce the impact of a biological weapons attack.
The review of the HHS’ recently announced Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise comes on the heels of numerous vaccine delivery delays during last fall’s H1N1 pandemic.
A two-day workshop on improving medical countermeasure development to respond to health emergencies, originally scheduled for this week in Washington DC, has been postponed to Feb. 22 through the 24 as a result of snowstorms, Gretchen Michael, spokeswoman in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services, said.
The meeting will discuss methods of removing obstacles to developing drugs, vaccines and diagnostics meant to counter threats including anthrax attacks.
The other workshop, organized by the National Biodefense Science Board, will review the management and structure of the countermeasures development program.
The workshop’s agenda notes that the problem with countermeasures development is that there is little commercial market for most medical countermeasures, which means that the government must provide incentives for private companies to develop them.
certain structural, strategic, and technical elements of the enterprise
continue to impede research, development, and production of medical
countermeasures," the agenda states according to CIDRAP News (Bio Prep Watch, 2010).
Title: U.N. Secretary-General Opens Chemical Weapons Convention
Date: December 1, 2010
Source: Bio Prep Watch
Abstract: The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the 15th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention on November 29 by lauding the convention’s more significant contributions to world safety.
“I welcome the significant progress that has been made, including the destruction of more than 60 percent of the world’s declared stockpiles of chemical weapons under strict verification,” the Secretary-General said, according to the meeting’s official transcripts.
Ban also said that he believes that the convention remains am effective, non-discriminatory and comprehensive legal instrument that has the ability to verify the existence and destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles, as well as prevent their proliferation.
He further lauded the progress of three possessor states that recently completed their destruction programs and commended the actions of the remaining possessor signatories. The challenge, according to Ban, will be for them to fulfill all of their obligations by the April 2012 deadline.
The secretary-general paid particular attention to the global nature of the convention.
“With 188 states parties encompassing 98 percent of the global population, the convention is approaching universal membership, thereby moving ever closer to eliminating the possibility that chemical weapons will be used,” Ban said.
There was also a message to those nations that are not a part of the convention.
“It is crucial for the remaining seven states that are not party to the convention to join without delay," Ban said. "Their accession would build confidence in their respective regions and strengthen international peace and security in general” (Bio Prep Watch, 2011).
Title: Biological Weapons Convention To Be Held This Week
Date: December 6, 2010
Source: Bio Prep Watch
Abstract: The 2010 Meeting of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention will be held this week at the United Nations Office in Geneva.
The meeting will be chaired by Ambassador Pedro Oyarce of Chile and is expected to develop and further the work of the Meeting of Experts that was held in Geneva in August 2010, according to UNOG.ch.
Oyarce called the meeting, “An important opportunity to further the main themes that emerged from the Meeting of Expert: the crucial importance of a coordinated and cross-sector response to an alleged use of biological weapons, and the need to build national capacities in order to provide such a response,” UNOG.ch reports.
The chairman also said that the improvement of national capabilities to respond to the use of biological weapons not only directly supports the convention’s security objectives, but also promotes the development of biological sciences and technologies that are peaceful in nature.
The meeting will also directly address proposals made at the Meeting of Experts, including the development of training courses, simulation exercises and joint partnerships; the encouragement of cross-sector cooperation between law enforcement and public health agencies; the necessity of assistance for state parties in the implementation of the BWC; and the enhancement of international cooperation, UNOG.ch reports (Bio Prep Watch, 2010).