There is growing acceptance of the concept of health security. However, there are various and incompatible definitions, incomplete elaboration of the concept of health security in public health operational terms, and insufficient reconciliation of the health security concept with community-based primary health care. More important, there are major differences in understanding and use of the concept in different settings. Policymakers in industrialized countries emphasize protection of their populations especially against external threats, for example terrorism and pandemics; while health workers and policymakers in developing countries and within the United Nations system understand the term in a broader public health context. Indeed, the concept is used inconsistently within the UN agencies themselves, for example the World Health Organization’s restrictive use of the term ‘global health security’. Divergent understandings of ‘health security’ by WHO’s member states, coupled with fears of hidden national security agendas, are leading to a breakdown of mechanisms for global cooperation such as the International Health Regulations. Some developing countries are beginning to doubt that internationally shared health surveillance data is used in their best interests. Resolution of these incompatible understandings is a global priority.
A harmonized international regime that enhances biosecurity is needed to reduce the risk of bioterrorism. Like other security regimes, this will entail mutually reinforcing strands, which need to include: enactment of legally binding control of access to dangerous pathogens, transparency for sanctioned biodefense programs, technology transfer and assistance to developing countries to jointly advance biosafety and biosecurity, global awareness of the dual-use dilemma and the potential misuse of science by terrorists, and development of a global ethic of compliance. To work, this effort must be undertaken collectively, utilizing the international and regional institutions that already have a role to play in providing safety and security. Most notably, it must grow in a top-down manner from the Biological Weapons Convention accord, in which States Parties have agreed to ban the development of biological weapons, and in a bottom-up manner from the scientific and health communities, which are engaged in the research and public health efforts that must be protected against misuse—especially involving the World Health Organization.
This report is one in a series of three documents created by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), with support from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), on the law enforcement response to public health emergencies. It identifies the considerations that law enforcement executives should address in their public health communications plans, regarding internal communications (those that remain within the law enforcement agency) as well as external communications (those that go to other agencies or the public).
The intentional release of a biological agent may initially be difficult to discern from a natural incident, which can result in separate law enforcement and public health investigations. It is in public health and law enforcement’s best interest to work together when first investigating a suspicious biological outbreak, which includes fostering mutual awareness and establishing joint communication procedures. By working together, public health and law enforcement can achieve their separate but often overlapping objectives of identifying the biological agent, preventing the spread of the disease, preventing public panic, and apprehending those responsible. Law enforcement and public health are encouraged to read the entire handbook and not limit their review to just their respective sections, so each community can understand the different goals and needs of the other organization.
Health has long been intertwined with the foreign policies of states. In recent years, however, global health issues have risen to the highest levels of international politics and have become accepted as legitimate issues in foreign policy. In this paper, the authors review the relationship between global health and foreign policy by examining the roles of health across 4 major components of foreign policy: aid, trade, diplomacy, and national security.
This paper considers the biological weapons problem as a post-disarmament issue requiring ‘management’ or ‘governance’ rather than ‘disarmament’ or ‘arms control’. This allows for a broader analysis of the BW problem, one where a range of relevant issues, threats, challenges and actors can be examined, as well as nation-states, international treaties, terrorist groups and the like. The paper, therefore, provides a more accurate depiction of the wide range of current efforts to minimize the chances of biology being misused for hostile purposes. It aims to explain how and why networks and non-state actors have emerged to play a bigger role in the governance of biological technologies.
Science and security policy are increasingly overlapping because of concerns that legitimate research might be misapplied to develop biological weapons. This paper explores recent changes in the governance of science and technology and contributes to future policymaking by assessing the relative merits of understanding the development of dual-use policy in terms of either technology transfer or technology convergence.
This article highlights key features of a national-level framework that has been developed to guide a risk-based decision process and inform technical personnel of the best practices to follow during each activity leading to the restoration of functions at affected facilities or areas. The framework and associated guidance follows the scheme of 6 phases for response and recovery arrived at through interagency consensus and approval. Each phase is elaborated in a series of detailed decision flowcharts identifying key questions that must be addressed and answered from the time that first indications of a credible biological attack are received to final reoccupancy of affected areas and a return to normal daily functions.
This document will help state and local law enforcement officials and policymakers to understand communicable diseases (including terminology and methods of transmission) and the threat they pose to public health and safety. The document outlines key concerns that law enforcement officials must address in preparation for a virus-caused pandemic and other public health emergencies and identifies issues that may arise in the department’s “all-hazards” approach. It provides an overview of the role of law enforcement in public health emergencies, covering a variety of topics including: preparing departments, protecting officers, and protecting communities.