Group of Eight specialist workshop on global biological security

STOCKHOLM, 11 September 2012. On 30 August SIPRI hosted a workshop on the relationship between the health and security sectors. The workshop, organized within the context of the Group of Eight Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (G8GP), reaffirmed the importance of partnering with health professionals to achieve global biological security goals.

About the Group of Eight Global Partnership 

At the G8 Summit in 2002, the major industrialized countries launched the G8GP as a 10-year initiative to reduce the risk that either terrorists or states that support them could acquire or develop nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. 

At the 2011 G8 Summit, the G8GP participating states—by now expanded to include 24 partner countries—agreed to extend the initiative beyond 2012 and identified new priorities, including nuclear and radiological security, bio-security, scientist engagement, and facilitation of implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540.


An Assessment and Options for Future Programming document drawn up at the 2011 Summit highlighted five areas in which global biological security could be strengthened:
  1. Securing and accounting for materials that represent biological proliferation risks;

  2. Developing and maintaining appropriate and effective measures to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the deliberate misuse of biological agents;

  3. Strengthening national and global networks to rapidly identify, confirm, and respond to biological attacks;

  4. Reinforcing and strengthening biological nonproliferation principles, practices, and instruments and

  5. Reducing proliferation risks through the advancement and promotion of safe and responsible conduct in the biological sciences.  

About the workshop 

The SIPRI workshop, which was held immediately following the G8GP’s partnership meeting in Stockholm on 28–29 August, focused on practical steps that could help implement the Assessment and Options for Future Programming document. The workshop had three objectives:

  1. To expand human and animal health sector participation in the G8GP’s biological and health security efforts; 
  2. To improve multi-sectoral, whole-of-government participation in the G8GP’s biological and health security initiative; and
  3. To develop concrete activities, including health capacity building efforts, for member nations to support across the G8GP biosecurity deliverables document.


Attendees at the workshop heard presentations by a number of high-profile speakers from organizations including the United States Department of State; the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control; the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters; and the World Health Organization.


Reaffirming the importance of partnerships

“SIPRI would like to thank the governments of the USA and Sweden for their support in the organization of the workshop, as well as all workshop participants for the spirit of openness and cooperation that they displayed during the discussions,” said Dr Ian Anthony, Director of the SIPRI Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme. 

“The G8GP has a history of finding innovative ways to link the contributions of partners in order to deliver projects that could not have been implemented by individual organizations acting alone.”

“Within the context of shrinking budgets and resource scarcity, the most effective way to take forward the work of the G8GP in the area of biological and health security efforts is for partners to form project teams around issues that are of particular national interest or concern.” 


For editors
For more information please contact Dr Ian Anthony, Director of the SIPRI Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme:
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