ChemBio Talks
Launching Event Report –
Chemical and Biological Security:
Implications for the Black Sea Region.

The ChemBio Talks series was officially launched on 19 December 2023 with an online event titled “Chemical and Biological Security: Implications for the Black Sea Region”. Convened within the framework of the Black Sea Women in Nuclear (BSWN) Network, this series seeks to complement the NucTalks by facilitating deliberation within the framework of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) security and supporting knowledge sharing and peer learning for comprehensive risk management. The launching event featured an expert panel that addressed Perspectives on biological threat mitigation. This panel included two guest speakers: Ms. Ketevan Zaridze (National Center for Disease Control, Georgia) and Ms. Stephanie Norlock (International Federation of Biosafety Associations, Canada). Both speakers gave short presentations which were followed by discussion among participants. Dr Tatyana Novossiolova (Center for the Study of Democracy, Bulgaria), convener of the ChemBio Talks moderated the panel.

In her presentation, Ms. Zaridze discussed the work of the National Center for Disease Control in Georgia with a particular focus on the activities of Georgia’s reference public health laboratory, the Lugar Center. She addressed Russia’s disinformation campaigns against the institution, their impact on local life science professionals, and the steps and measures taken by the Lugar Center to debunk and expose these campaigns. In her talk, Ms. Norlock elaborated on the role of IFBA in strengthening biosafety and biosecurity worldwide. She provided an overview of IFBA’s activities in promoting competence and life-long learning through its mentorship and certification programmes which foster professional excellence in biosafety and biosecurity. Ms. Norlock also discussed IFBA’s most recent work on integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) considerations with biosafety and biosecurity risk mitigation outlining the development of practical tools and indicators for implementing DEI-sensitive strategies and approaches within life science institutions.

The panel discussion was wide-ranging with event participants sharing questions and comments on an array of issues including the international regulation and management of biological security risks; options for countering CBRN-related disinformation and enhancing resilience against such campaigns in the Black Sea region; prospects for encouraging the exchange of good practices in building DEI-responsible work forces in the field of CBRN security; and opportunities to promote grassroots-level cross-fertilisation among the international WMD disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.

The recording of the ChemBio Talks launching event is available here.