IEGBBR Mobile Application of Biosafety, Biosecurity and Dual-Use Oversight

IEGBBR logoThe IEGBBR mobile app is a reference tool for countries that aim to develop or strengthen their national biosafety, biosecurity or dual-use oversight. By providing 11 detailed examples of the national oversight systems of the IEGBBR member countries, the app can contribute to improved national or regional compliance with international commitments. The updated mobile app was launched as a publicly available, searchable mobile application in English and French, in the Google Play and Apple app stores in March 2022.

IEGBBR Mobile App & International Health Regulations Compliance (IHR)

The mobile app can contribute to improving national/regional compliance with the International Health Regulations. Under the IHR, States Parties are mandated to report annually on 13 public health capacities, including C1 (Legislation and Financing) and C5 (Laboratory Biosafety and Biosecurity Regime). Also under the IHR, the Joint External Evaluation assessments are a rigorous in-country evaluation of a country’s core public health capacities. The technical areas relevant to biosafety, biosecurity and dual-use oversight include Prevent (P1): National legislation, policy and financing and Prevent (P6): Biosafety and Biosecurity. By detailing the 11 IEGBBR member countries’ national oversight systems, the IEGBBR mobile app can be used as an informational resource for countries that want to strengthen their IHR compliance with respect to the public health capacities related to biosafety, biosecurity or dual-use oversight.

IEGBBR Mobile App & Biological Security

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a heightened focus on public health and identified challenges to public health control in national regulatory systems around the world. Theories about the origins of SARS-CoV-2 have also garnered focus on international biosafety and biosecurity, which points to the need to build capacity on oversight of dual-use issues, as well as to build strong international understanding and strengthen oversight around responsible conduct in the life sciences. Oversight of biosafety, biosecurity and dual-use is tied to national health security because accounting for highly pathogenic biological agents and storing them safely and securely mitigates public health and biological security risks. The mobile app can contribute to the following biological security priorities:

  • Develop and maintain appropriate and effective measures to identify dual use potential and reduce the risk of deliberate misuse of biological agents;
  • Reinforce and strengthen biological non-proliferation principles, practices;
  • Reduce proliferation risks through the advancement and promotion of safe and responsible conduct in the biological sciences;
  • Secure and account for materials that represent biological proliferation risks, strengthening accountability through strong regulation.

IEGBBR Mobile App & International Commitments

The mobile app can also contribute to ongoing international biosafety and biosecurity efforts and commitments, and can be used hand in hand with other available reference tools.

Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention:

Descriptions of the IEGBBR oversight systems for biosafety, biosecurity and dual-use show how the signatory achieves compliance to the BTWC, in particular for:
Article I: … “undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain”…,
Article III: … “undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever, directly or indirectly, and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any State, group of States or international organisations to manufacture or otherwise acquire” …, and
Article IV: … “take any necessary measures to prohibit and prevent the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition or retention”…

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540:

Descriptions of the IEGBBR oversight systems for biosafety, and biosecurity and dual-use oversight systems demonstrate how the signatory has achieved compliance with the requirement to “adopt and enforce appropriate laws to this effect as well as other effective measures to prevent the proliferation of these weapons and their means of delivery to non-State actors, in particular for terrorist purposes”.

The Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group:

The described export control regimes in place aim to prevent the spread and development of destabilising accumulations of weapons and the proliferation of biological weapons. This is done through adopting Wassenaar Arrangement policies and recommendations on transfers, and having in place harmonized export controls through Australia Group.

Global Health Security Agenda’s Analytical Approach:

The IEGBBR mobile app provides 11 examples of national biosafety, biosecurity, and dual-use oversight systems, including detail of the policy instruments used. It therefore can serve as a complementary tool to the modules of the Analytical Approach that can remove the necessity for extensive legwork prior to the development and implementation of oversight.