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Knowledge exchange and strengthening biosafety and biosecurity standards

28. 01. 2015

Belgrade, 22-23 January 2015 - The University of Defence in Belgrade and the European Centre for Peace and Development (ECPD) of the UN University for Peace, in cooperation with the International Centre for Security Studies (ICIS) in Insubria, Como, Italy, were organizers of a two-day Training Programme for National Experts realised within the EU Centre of Excellence Project in the field of Chemical / Biological / Radiological / Nuclear (CBRN) protection of the EU CBRN CoE: The management, knowledge development and transfer of good practice in the field of biosafety and biosecurity and management of biological risks. This project has been implemented in the Republic of Serbia since 2013 under the auspices of the Republican team for CBRN protection, and the selected national coordinators, Prof. Elizabeta Ristanović, PhD and Marija Đurić-Trajković, MSc have gathered eminent experts from national, academic, scientific and professional institutions who are faced with biohazard in the domain of their activities and are responsible for improving the standards of biosafety and biosecurity and biological protection.

Prof. Elizabeta Ristanović, PhD welcomed the participants of the course on behalf of the Rector of the University of Defence in Belgrade, Major General Prof. Mladena Vuruna, PhD, highlighting that the University of Defence strongly supports all national and international efforts aimed at raising the level of awareness of scientific and professional public, as well as decision makers on biological hazards and risks, which are one of the greatest security challenges of the 21st century, especially if the possibility of their abuse by applying genetic engineering and biotechnology is taken in consideration. She emphasized that the teaching material from this field was introduced into the teaching contents of the Military Academy of the University of Defence at all levels of education and that there are two electronic courses for distance learning.

- Through these programs, as part of the European family, we want to show readiness for improvement of biological protection measures at all levels, thus contributing to the affirmation of our country's determination and the global fight against this monster. We believe that you will like the contents of programmes, but we will consider that the goal has been achieved only if this is an interactive exchange of knowledge, experience and practice. In the future, if we, as representatives of the profession, influence, together, raising awareness of the public, decision-makers on this great danger, the necessity of strengthening the standards of biosafety and biosecurity and the training of national capacities and biological defence resources, thus we will become an important part of the global front against terrorism - Professor Ristanovic said.

Otherwise, the University of Defence and the European Centre for Peace and Development of the UN University for Peace have a long-standing partnership in various academic fields. The chief of this cooperation was Lieutenant-General Prof. Vladimir Vojvodić, PhD, a former head of the Military Medical Academy, the eminent person in the world of atomic, biological and chemical protection. This successful cooperation has continued today, and the President of the Executive Board of the ECPD spoke about that in his welcoming speech, when he also thanked the Rector and the management of the University of Defence for their active contribution to the cooperation and highlighted the necessity of its further strengthening.

National CBRN Coordinator Mr. Marko Milivojević from the Ministry of Interior spoke about the comprehensive activities of the Republic of Serbia in the field of CBRN protection. Professor Maurizio Martellini, PhD, one of the leading European experts in the CBRN defence management team, a team leader of the most important EU projects in the field of preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, expressed his satisfaction with the organisation of the Training Programme and cooperation with our national representatives.

During the two-day work, Prof. Elizabeta Ristanović, PhD and Marija Đurić-Trajković, MSc presented the latest findings in the field of biological risks, health protection at work, biosafety and biosecurity, biosecurity risk assessment and control, principles of control and management of infrastructure and equipment, control of infection, decontamination and management of biological waste, packaging, transport and control of biological materials as dual-use goods.

Special attention was given to lectures in the field of crisis communication in emergency situations caused by biological hazards and possibilities of genetic engineering and biotechnology in terms of abuse of science in order to improve biological weapons, as well as ethical principles of scientific research in this field.

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