New Danish initiative strengthens biosecurity and improves health in East Africa
The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Ministry of Defence and The Ministry of Health are cooperating on an innovative pilot project that aims to improve biosecurity and health in East Africa. The project will be implemented by the Danish Centre for Biosecurity and Biopreparedness at Statens Serum Institut under The Ministry of Health.
Biosecurity - securing material that can be used to develop biological weapons - is an international obligation under both the Biological Weapons Convention and The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540. Every country is obliged to work towards the universalisation of the norms of the convention and resolution, including assisting states that do not have sufficient capacity to implement biosecurity systems.
The Danish government has developed a comprehensive new policy for disarmament and non-proliferation. As one of its priorities, the policy will contribute to improving international biosecurity. The project will also serve as a health promotion initiative by working with a partner country in East Africa to improve its diagnostic methods and strengthening its capacity to respond to infectious diseases.
The organisation of the Danish biosecurity system is clear and manageable, which makes it suitable for transferal to developing countries. Taking into account local conditions, the pilot project will take initial steps to transfer Danish biosecurity experiences and best practices to the partner country.
The activities now being launched in East Africa will focus on training and education of key stakeholders in relation to biosecurity, assistance in the preparation of biosecurity legislation, help to create a national authority responsible for biosecurity inspired by the Danish model, and preliminary steps to introduce modern diagnostic methods.
The two year pilot project is implemented as part of the Danish Peace and Stability Fund. A steering group with members from The Ministry of Health, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Ministry of Defence has been established to provide direction to the project. In addition, the project activities will be carried out in close dialogue with international partners from the G8 initiative Global Partnership against the Spread of Materials of Weapons of Mass Destruction, of which Denmark is one of 27 members.