Biosecurity expert discusses challenges in bioweapons control in the Middle East

Nisreen al-Hmoud, the project director for the Center for Excellence in Biosafety, Biosecurity and Biotechnology at the Royal Scientific Society in Amman, Jordan, recently wrote an article that examined collaborative bioweapons control efforts in the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) region

"Developing a biosecurity culture in MENA countries," published in 1540 Compass, looked at international initiatives designed to foster cooperation in MENA countries while also looking at challenges in the region. Al-Hmoud said that while implementation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1540 is critical to global safety, national differences in adoption of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention pose risks.

The article discussed efforts by an international task force between 2010-2012 to explore the technical parameters of a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in MENA countries, though it noted that political realities in the region made achievement of the goal elusive, 1540 Compass reports.

A cooperative engagement between the U.S. and MENA countries identified problems in bioweapons control in the region, including funding and coordination. An international EU effort to address technical and defense issues has also conducted more than a dozen projects in MENA countries, according to 1540 Compass.

The article concluded that efforts to foster positive relationships between MENA scientists, experts and agencies is critical to safety, but that a sustainable funding vehicle is necessary to ensure success. 1540 Compass reports.