Qatar builds capacity to deal with bioterrorism
September 15 2019 11:47 PM
Officials and dignitaries participating in the workshop. PICTURE: Nasar K Moidheen
Officials and dignitaries participating in the workshop. PICTURE: Nasar K Moidheen


A workshop that got underway in Doha on Sunday comes as part of Qatar's preparations for major events, including the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in order to prevent, detect and respond to any biological terrorist acts or threats, an official has said.

The event aims to build and strengthen national capacities in Qatar to face biological accidents, stressed Dr Jameela al-Ajmi, representative of Hamad Medical Corporation and head of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) working group, while delivering the keynote address on the opening day of the Project Biosafe: Bioterrorism Risks and Controls Workshop.

She also informed that a team of specialists to respond to biological disasters at the national level and to respond to emergencies.

The workshop has been organised by Qatar's National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons (NCPW), represented by the Doha regional centre for training on weapons of mass destruction, and the National Central Bureau (Interpol Doha), the officials Qatar News Agency (QNA) reports.

The event is being held under the Biosafe project in co-operation with Interpol - International Criminal Police Organisation, and will run for four days.

Dr al-Ajmi said Qatar acceded to the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the development, production and stockpiling of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction, out of its belief in the importance of achieving international peace and security. She noted that Qatar was one of the first signatories to the agreement, QNA added.

The official praised the efforts exerted by the NCPW to activate and implement conventions at the national and international levels in the face of threats caused by biological weapons to national, regional and international security, referring that these efforts culminated in the promulgation of the Biological Weapons Act No 4 of 2016.

The committee has also held several seminars, workshops and training courses with the aim of building national capacities and raising awareness for various segments of society, she said.

Dr al-Ajmi stressed that regarding preparedness and crisis management, the committee has formed a national team of specialists to respond to biological disasters at the national level and to respond to emergencies, by taking preventive measures against biological attacks and on how to respond to bioterrorism.

The head of the National Central Bureau (Interpol Doha), Major Mohamed Fahad al-Hajri, highlighted Qatar's standing commitment to combating terrorism and transnational crime and maintaining international peace and security, pointing to the fruitful co-ordination between the bureau and the NCPW in accordance with Interpol standards.

NCPW secretary Captain Abdulaziz Hamdan al-Ahmed said in remarks on the sidelines of the workshop that the hosting of this event came as part of the committee's plans to prepare a response team in case of any biological emergency.

Captain al-Ahmed added that the NCPW met with the Interpol in co-operation with the Interpol bureau in Doha in order to co-ordinate this event.

Further, the NCPW secretary said participation in the event focused on the bodies concerned with biological hazards such as the Ministry of Public Health and the General Administration of Civil Defence, and also noted the participation of a number of private hospitals and pharmacies in addition to companies that specialised in dealing with biological materials, QNA reported.

On its first day, the workshop discussed global terrorism and biosecurity, and reviewed the experience with hazardous biological materials in Qatar, as well as the assessment of biological threats and risks.

The workshop will discuss a number of topics, including the structure adopted in Qatar for the prevention and response to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive weapons, preventive measures in dealing with natural disease outbreaks, crime scene management, the risks of biological terrorism and the means of monitoring it, in addition to a number of other related issues.

Last updated: September 16 2019 12:21 AM

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