National Biosecurity Committee holds first meeting in 2023

National Biosecurity Committee holds first meeting in 2023

DUBAI, 31st March, 2023 (WAM) -- The National Biosecurity Committee, chaired by Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, convened its first meeting in 2023 to discuss topics aimed at strengthening biosecurity.

The session reviewed, with members receiving updates on the national campaign to combat mosquitoes, discussing the mechanism for implementing the National Biosecurity Framework, examining the registry of biological risks and threats, and exploring other related topics.

During the meeting, Almheiri commended the committee members for their efforts in bolstering biosecurity in 2022, which led to the adoption of the National Framework for Biological Security 2023-2032 by the Council of Ministers. This framework outlines a roadmap for the next phase, featuring various measures and capabilities to be developed, such as forecasting, rapid response, testing capabilities, and recovery programmes, further reaffirming the ongoing commitment by the National Biosecurity Committee this year, in line with the UAE’s vision of attaining leadership in all fields.

Almheiri emphasised that the National Biosecurity Committee's regular meetings are crucial in implementing the National Biosecurity Strategy. This strategy, approved by the Council of Ministers in 2013 under the slogan "Integrated Biosecurity," concentrates on developing material and human resources and safeguarding the nation against biological threats.

Almheiri said that due to the impact and repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is heightened interest in biosecurity, leading to increased national efforts to enhance and develop capacities and capabilities to address and counter biological risks and threats. This involves the UAE’s commitment to the “One Health” approach, which aims to advance the prevention, detection, and control of diseases shared by humans and animals and tackle antimicrobial resistance, epidemics, and other challenges.

The Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment collaborates closely with relevant entities to strengthen the biosecurity system by adopting pertinent initiatives and activities to achieve these goals. Recently, a list of priority diseases for the UAE was approved.

Furthermore, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on the sidelines of the meeting between the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment and the United Arab Emirates University to enhance collaboration in biosecurity. The MoU was signed by Essa Abdulrahman Al Hashmi, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Sustainable Communities Sector and Acting Assistant Under-Secretary of the Green Development and Climate Change Sector of the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment, and Professor Dr. Ghaleb Ali Al Breiki, Acting Director of the United Arab Emirates University.

The MoU seeks to foster collaboration in advancing academic and cultural exchanges across education, scientific research, and other domains, such as joint educational programmes, including short-term academic initiatives that support the biosecurity system and bolster capabilities to address related risks and threats. Additionally, it promotes joint scientific research activities concerning human, animal, and plant protection, environmental conservation, and diseases shared by humans and animals. The collaboration also involves organising joint seminars, study sessions, workshops, and conferences.