DUBAI, 24th May, 2022 (WAM) — The National Biosecurity Committee held its first meeting of 2022 to examine multiple relevant issues and review the status of the deliverables and recommendations of its second meeting of 2021.
Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, presided over the meeting.
The committee discussed the preparations for the fifth UAE International Biosecurity Conference set to run in December 2022 under the theme ‘Vision of Tomorrow to Achieve Sustainable Biosecurity’. The conference will convene international and local experts and feature main sessions, side workshops, laboratory, and exhibition. It will highlight the challenges of biosecurity, the contribution of compliance to sound scientific and medical practices in achieving biosecurity, and the potential of leveraging Artificial Intelligence and biotechnology to enhance biosecurity.
Participants received a briefing of the upgrade of the Biosecurity Early Notification System and the initiative for the foresight and readiness for biological threats and environmental disasters. They also received a proposal to re-establish the Scientific Advisory Committee for Biosecurity, a subsidiary of the National Biosecurity Committee. Moreover, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority presented its process for managing incidents involving hazardous biological substances.
Almheiri said, “The recent outbreak of the pandemic and health threats is shining a spotlight on biosecurity. Caused by a biological agent, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many conceptions of the topic. We must be proactive and able to foresee and evaluate threats to limit their emergence and spread.”
She added, “Given the close connection between biosecurity, food security, and the health of people and the environment, it is integral to liaise between concerned entities while dealing with biological threats, attract and train Emirati capabilities, promote active community participation, and continue to coordinate with global partners to face common biological threats.”
The Committee discussed the plan to immediately control disease carriers, including the yellow fever mosquito that spreads the dengue fever. In this context, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE), in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) and in coordination with the concerned local government departments in each emirate, kickstarted the second phase of the National Mosquito Control Programme that runs from February 2022 till May 2025 with the aim of surveying and monitoring mosquito infestation areas and controlling the spread of the pests.
The gathering was part of the Committee’s series of meetings towards ensuring the highest levels of public security and health in line with the National Biosecurity Strategy, adopted by the UAE Cabinet in 2013 under the theme ‘Integrated Biosecurity’.