Bradford Disarmament Research Centre Division of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK National Series Lecture 1 Introduction Tunisia Picture Image Transparent Globe by digitalart - from: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ Outline 1. Where we are in the early 21st century 2. Outline of the following lectures a) What we should know (learning outcome) b) What we can do (policy contribution) Picture Image: Golden World In Hands by jscreationzs- from: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ What is “Life Science”? • “Any field of science that is leading to or has the potential to lead to an enhanced understanding of living organisms, especially human life.” • E.g. Biology, proteomics, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, aerosol technology, chemistry and mathematics (National Research Council, 2006: 27) • Applied in: Public health, Medicine, Agriculture, Energy, Environment and National security studies Biotechnology: An integral part of national strategy in the 21st Century A growing market in Biotechnology: the pharmaceutical market (National Research Council, 2006: 85) Region Annual Worth Share North America $204 Billion 51% Europe $102 Billion 25% Japan $47 Billion 12% Asia, Africa, Australia $32 Billion 8% Latin America $17 Billion 4% • Similar results in number of researchers and the amount of private investment for R&D in the life sciences • Rapid growth in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East (Ernst&Young 2011, Frost&Sullivan 2010) Tunisia: Life science outlook Global publication ranking Item Ranking 2011 Ranking 37 2005 Ranking 54 Ranking Change 17 2011 Regional Ranking 1 in N. Africa 2005 Regional Ranking 2 in N. Africa Hits in PubMed 403 PubMed Ranking 35 Hit in Espacenet N.A. Espacenet Ranking N.A. Combined Ranking 35 • The BioWeapons Monitor 2011’s survey indicates … that a number of countries outside of Europe and North America, such as Colombia, India, Iran, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Tunisia, have climbed up many rungs of the ladder of science and technology holders over the past six years. Source: (BWPP 2011) Tunisia: Science outlook The Tunisian Association of Biotechnology Established in 1983, objectives of association is classified among associations scientist, the objectives are: • To help the members with thorough their general knowledge, like professional and to facilitate the cultural communications and scientist between them . • To encourage the innovation with the various fields of biotechnology on the level of research as well as the industrial applications. • The opening on the economy and to make the connection between the researchers and the representatives of the industrial sector in the biotechnological fields. • The participation in the diffusion of information related to biotechnology. • To make relation scientists and technical with similar associations in other countries. (ATBT 2012) Tunisia: Science outlook The Ministry of Scientific Research, Technology and Competency Development (MSRTCD) MSRTCD is in charge of formulating the national policy and strategy in the field of scientific research and technological development, including: • • • • • • Drafting and following up of plans, implementation strategies, and the determination of priorities and programs in the scientific research, technological innovation and competency development sector; Management of financial resources coming from public and private sectors and from international cooperation to the benefit of the scientific research; Proposing appropriate mechanisms for an optimal use of scientific equipment within the framework of partnership conventions with production structures; Spreading the culture of intellectual property and patents among researchers and inventors Preparing strategies for international cooperation and follow up of international agreements; Involvement of Tunisian scientific competencies abroad in the determination, execution and evaluation of research programs. (Madikizala) Tunisia: Life science outlook • Centre of Biotechnology of Sfax (CBS) CBS was launched in 1983 in a small corner of the University of Sfax’s School of Engineering. Today the institute sits at the centre of its own campus, a tangible reflection of a US$10-million investment with 200-plus staff of scientists, engineers, technicians and students. (TWAS 2008) Major Areas of Biotech Development (1) In 2004, in Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, Tebourski and Ammar-Elgaaied analysed three major areas of biotechnology development in Tunisia as follows organ transplant (OT), assisted reproductive techniques (ART), and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) Organ Transplant • “Conditions offered for OT development concern information, specialized structures, and legislation. Good level of information is provided by radio and TV programs and by papers in the local press on organ donation. A National Day of Organ Donation Awareness has been instituted. • With regard to legislation, two laws are particularly in favour of OT: the law 91-22 created in March 1991 and regulating OT  and the law on the “donor mention” registered on the National Identity Card of the donor . The spirit of these laws was to promote organ donation.” Major Areas of Biotech Development (2) Assisted Reproductive Techniques • The second technology which is much in demand is the ART. A percentage of 10%–15% of Tunisian couples are concerned, with 6000 to 8000 candidates for ART per year. With regard to the success rate, it was about 7%–20%. The available methods proposed to couples suffering from infertility are artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and the microinjection technique. • In a study performed in another African country, it was found that one out of thirteen patients who were referred to ART centres was able to achieve her objective of motherhood  • At the legislative level, there was a lack of a law regulating ART until July 2001. At this period the [National Medical Ethics Committee] NMEC gave some rules to conduct ART that take into account the Islamic viewpoint (Tebourski and Ammar-Elgaaied, 2004) Major Areas of Biotech Development (3) Genetically Modified Organisms • In Tunisia, only microorganisms and plants are involved in the gene technology. All experiences are enclosed in laboratories and research centres and there is no GMO culture in fields (ie, field-testing). With regard to animal feeding, corn and soya grains are imported without certification. • As a very high percentage (about 80%) of sailed corn in the world is transgenic, we think that corn bought in Tunisia is GM. Indeed, until now there was no procedure control and the country needs great quantity of corn for animal use. • Moreover, there is no research on GM animals in Tunisia and officially there is no GM-based seed or seedling. Probably by application of the famous precautionary principle, researchers and other actors are waiting for a clear GMO policy. (Tebourski and Ammar-Elgaaied, 2004) Major Areas of Biotech Development (4) GMO (Legislative challenges) • Tunisia currently has no legal framework dealing with the use and release of products of agricultural biotechnology. New legislation on biotech products were expected to be finalized and adopted by the parliament before the end of 2010. • However, it seems that this legislation will be further delayed due to the lack of consensus among Tunisian policy-makers, influenced by the EU position on GMO issues. Until the adoption of a legal framework, the imports of biotech products into Tunisia continue to be treated the same way as the conventional agricultural products. (Ahmed and Chahed, 2010) PubMed search with “Tunisia” Key word hits in Publication data base 1200 1000 800 600 Numbers 400 200 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Nanotechnology in Tunisia Tunisia launches first nanotech project (SciDevNet, 11 January 2010) • “Tunisia has launched the first project applying nanotechnology in the Arab Maghreb region of north western Africa. • The project aims to monitor and purify the waters of the Medjerda River, the longest river in Tunisia. • Three mobile laboratories will monitor river water, after which data will be analysed at a new research centre. • The project, partially funded and supported by Belgium, is the first project of the Tunisian Association for Environmental Nanotechnology. The association was set up in December 2008 but it took a year to convince policymakers of the importance of nanotechnology, particularly for providing water suitable for drinking and irrigation, say the scientists.” Why do we care? Should this be an issue for us? The dual-use nature of science and technology: – “Every major technology — metallurgy, explosives, internal combustion, aviation, electronics, nuclear energy — has been intensively exploited, not only for peaceful purposes but also for hostile ones.” Hostile Peaceful – “…Must this also happen with biotechnology, certain to be a dominant technology of the twenty-first century?” Matthew Meselson: Professor of Molecular Biology at Harvard University (Meselson, 2000: 16) Meselson’s Forecast in 2000 Ability • “Our ability to modify fundamental life processes continues its rapid advance” • “We will be able not only to devise additional ways to destroy life but will also become able to manipulate it” Dilemma • “…[This has a] Vast potential for beneficial application and could have inimical consequences for the course of civilization.” Meselson’s Forecast in 2000 “At present, we appear to be approaching a crossroads —a time that will test whether biotechnology…” • Will come to be intensively exploited for hostile purposes, or • Our species will find the collective wisdom to take a different course. Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) 1972 Article I • “Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain: • 1. Microbial or other biological agents or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes.” • This applies not only to states but also to non-state actors Science and Security: Dual-Use The need for a broader conceptualisation of dual-use • Biological agents and toxins can be used for hostile purposes without weaponization and technology is typically diffused globally for peaceful purposes • Hostile use can take the form of criminal acts or terrorist acts (nonstate level) in parallel to military application (state level), • The BTWC prohibits the misuse of the life sciences by both states and non-state actors Dual-use: traditional concept Military Civilian Dual-use: broader concept Peaceful Non-peaceful Tunisia and international regimes BTWC • Signature (10 April 1972); Ratification (18 May 1973) CWC • Signature (13 January 1993); Ratification (15 April 1995) National Series: Lecture Outline 2. Biosecurity Threats 3. The Web of Prevention 4. National Measures 5. Responsibility of Scientists Picture Image: Transparent Globe by digitalart - from: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ Reviewing threats (Lecture 2) Natural outbreaks of infectious disease Safety/accidental risks at laboratories Manmade threats: warfare, crime and terrorism Unpredictable future of the life sciences • ‘No single focal point’ of threats – Potential actors, material and information, which can be related to dualuse issues, exist at international, regional, national, local and individual levels. The Web of Prevention (WoP) (Lecture 3) To address natural outbreaks of infectious disease • Public health preparedness and response planning To address safety/accidental risks • Laboratory regulations to safely manage dangerous pathogens and toxins, to prevent an accidental release into the environment and unauthorized access To address manmade threats • Strong international arms control agreements with effective national implementation • Internationally coordinated export controls • Intelligence • Biodefense To address the unpredictable future of the life sciences • Oversight: Review of security-sensitive science and technology developments • Responsible conduct in research through education Public health measures Natural threats Safety risks Responsible conduct Oversight and review of Sci-Tech Laboratory measures Web of prevention International prohibition regime Manmade threats Export control Biodefense Governance of science Intelligence National implementation (Lecture 4) To National Context National implementation (Lecture 4) 1 2 3 • International agreements • Signature and ratification by states • National measures in states • Legislation, regulation, order or other forms of governance The need for responsible conduct in research (Lecture 5) Worldwide engagement of life scientists with the WoP will: • Effectively strengthen biosecurity measures by requiring the engagement of practicing scientists • Prevent unnecessary restriction of scientific freedoms Engagement of informed life scientists about biosecurity issues is key to successful security • Education of, and capacity building among, scientists on biosecurity issues is necessary for successful security • Uninformed scientists = no effective science policy inputs to the WoP Biosecurity: Definition issues The term “biosecurity” has been conceptualised differently across various scientific and professional disciplines • Areas: The term has been used in ecology, agriculture, food supply, arms control and public health contexts, with different meanings and conceptualisations • Policy processes: these overlap with interdisciplinary areas such as biosafety, counter-terrorism, agricultural biosecurity and biodiversity • Linguistic: In addition to these conceptual complications, “biosecurity” has also experienced linguistic complications (Fidler and Gostin 2007, Sunshine Project 2003, Barletta 2002) National Series: WoP = Biosecurity Education = Biosecurity Competency References • The references cited in this lecture are viewable in the Notes section of this presentation.