Members of the National Biosecurity Committee have recommended including educational materials on biosecurity into the curricula of universities and higher education institutes.
The recommendation came during the Committee’s second meeting for 2019, during which discussions were held on preparations for the UAE’s fourth Biosecurity Conference. The conference, scheduled to take place in Dubai on 28th and 29th October, seeks to engage young individuals biosecurity developments and the use of artificial intellegince technologies as a tool to boost biosecurity in the UAE.
Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, presided over the meeting.
The Minister said, “The regular meetings of the committee play a key role in implementing the National Biosecurity Strategy, approved by the UAE Cabinet in 2013.”
“Devised by the National Biosecurity Committee, the strategy is working to enhance the UAE’s biosecurity through issuing and updating legislations and laws, building capabilities to detect biological hazards, and deal with incidents and biological threats that can adversely affect the UAE community as well as the country’s political, economic and tourism sectors,” he added.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi noted that the strategy drives collaboration and coordination among all relevant entities across every stage in addressing biological hazards. In addition, it highlights the importance of engaging and qualifying the national workforce and ensuring effective community participation to achieve the objectives of the UAE Vision 2021 focused on building integrated biosecurity mechanisms that enhance the UAE’s overall safety and security.
The committee discussed a proposal to incorporate educational material on biosecurity into the curricula of universities and higher education institutes. It also explored recommendations for a UAE official delegation to participate in the 2019 Biological Weapons Convention Meeting of Experts in Geneva.
Committee members reviewed progress on the deliverables and recommendations of the first meeting in March 2019 that focused on the completion of the Laboratory Biosecurity Manual and the progress of updating the National Biosecurity Strategy.
The committee also received a briefing on the mechanism of the online ‘Early Biosecurity Notification System’, launched by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in July 2019. The unified national platform enables the public to report suspicious cases of emerging epidemic threats and foodborne diseases with the aim of facilitating early detection and verification of outbreaks.