Global Green attends BioShield 2010 Tabletop Exercise

The Southern Caucasus Workshop on Public Health, Security, and Law Enforcement Partnership in Bio-Incident Pre-Planning and Response and the associated Southern Caucasus BioShield 2010 Tabletop Exercise were held in Tbilisi, Georgia, 11-12 May 2010. These events were a joint effort of the US Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA); US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (HHS/ASPR); and Georgia’s Ministry of Public Health, National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC).

The workshop and tabletop exercise aimed to:
  • Foster improved understanding of the respective procedures and requirements of public health, security, and law enforcement communities in response to a biological incident, and enhance their joint effectiveness in pre-planning and response at the national and regional/international level;
  • Enhance understanding of intergovernmental organizations’ role and their interaction in the process of sharing information and coordinating the international response;
  • Emphasize the concept that information exchange in the early stages of a biological incident is critical to effectively containing the outbreak/mitigating the consequences of a biological incident and to apprehending the potential perpetrators;
  • Review existing legal and regulatory infrastructure of national measures consistent with the obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540), and WHO International Health Regulations (IHRs) to deter, prevent, or respond to biological incidents or threats.
About 80 participants were in attendance, from inter-governmental organizations (WHO, INTERPOL, NATO), the US Government and from public health, security, or law enforcement organizations from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Romania. Non-governmental organizations such as VERTIC (Verification Research, Training and Information Centre), Bechtel, and Global Green USA were also represented at the workshop.
Marina Voronova-Abrams, Program Associate of Global Green USA’s Security and Sustainability Program in Washington D.C. pointed out that “Dr. Dana Perkins from HHS/ASPR drafted very interesting agenda and the Tabletop Exercise Scenario, and invited experienced facilitators. The workshop brought together local, regional and international experts from different sectors. Many of them were sitting together at one table for the first time. They learned the value of cooperation and hopefully will continue this important partnership to prepare for, and respond to biological threats.”
A joint Georgia-US presentation and report summarizing the workshop proceedings will be presented at the BWC Meeting of Experts, 23-27 August 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland.

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