APP3 Key Messages & FAQs

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The Critical Role of Biosafety and Biosecurity in Health Security: Key Messages from the Global Health Security Agenda Action Package Prevent-3: Biosafety & Biosecurity

Key Messaging

The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) serves as a catalyst for attaining a world safe and secure from global health threats posed by infectious diseases and seeks to elevate global health security as a national and international health and security priority. The GHSA is a collaborative, multi-sectoral initiative, bringing together 65 countries representing nearly 6 billion people, along with regional and international organizations and the non-governmental and private sectors to build and strengthen health security capacity.

The GHSA seeks to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks before they become epidemics: Prevent and reduce the likelihood of outbreaks – natural, accidental, or intentional; Detect threats early to save lives; Respond rapidly and effectively using multi-sectoral, international coordination and communication.

  • A key part of prevention is developing strong biosafety and biosecurity capacity:  Disease outbreaks are usually natural occurrences; however, we must prepare for the potentially devastating scenario in which an outbreak is caused by an accidental release or intentional dissemination of a dangerous agent.
  • Biosafety practices aim to prevent accidental exposure of individuals and the environment to potentially hazardous biological agents. Biosafety practices are also focused on protecting people – and the surrounding community and environment – from accidents associated with dangerous pathogens.
  • Biosecurity aims to prevent unauthorized access, loss, theft, or deliberate release, or misuse of hazardous biological agents, and associated research-related information.  Biosecurity is the protection of pathogens from dangerous people intending to cause harm.
  • It is vital to promote strong global biosafety and biosecurity practices in the context of rapidly advancing, easier to use, and inexpensive biotechnologies, which are important for sustainable development but – at the same time – carry risks that could set back achievement of those goals.
  • It is equally important to actively promote responsible conduct of life science research and oversight for dual-use life sciences research.
  • National government and institutional oversight help ensure that the dialogue on biosafety and biosecurity is taking place continuously, in the relevant fora and in line with scientific advancements.
  • Laboratory staff who have access to especially dangerous pathogens can prevent accidental or intentional release through appropriate training in biosafety and biosecurity.
  • Biosafety and biosecurity practices help nations counter both natural and manmade biological threats, while also fostering safe scientific progress.


The Action Package Prevent-3 (APP3) Biosafety & Biosecurity is a collection of experts and leaders from countries and non-governmental organizations that seek to advance global biosafety and biosecurity capacity under the auspices of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), in support of various international instruments and agreements including the International Health Regulations, the Biological Weapons Convention, and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540.

The APP3 works in collaboration with technical experts across the spectrum of health security to enable progress toward the GHSA 2024 target, which seeks to advance the capacities of 100 countries to a “demonstrated” level (JEE score of 4.0) across five technical areas.  The APP3 strives to ensure biosafety and biosecurity is one of the areas in which we can measure progress in 2024.

The APP3 measures progress is measured by countries’ improvements toward increasingly advanced capacity levels, using the indicators within the World Health Organization Joint External Evaluation.  For biosafety and biosecurity, these indicators are as follows: 1) Whole-of-government biosafety and biosecurity system in place for all sectors (including human, animal and agriculture facilities); 2) Biosafety and biosecurity training and practices in all relevant sectors (including human, animal and agriculture).

The APP3 is enabling progress through three primary actions:

  1. Promoting global compliance with biosafety and biosecurity targets by spreading key messages in relevant fora, increasing membership of APP3, and making tools available to countries seeking to make progress in the area of biosafety and biosecurity.
  2. Tracking progress toward global achievement of biosafety and biosecurity targets and using this information to identify priorities for further capacity development.
  3. Liaising with partner countries, pairing committed countries looking for support with countries seeking to direct resources toward effective capacity building in the area of biosafety and biosecurity.

All members are expected to contribute to the APP3 strategic objectives and to make available all biosecurity and biosafety resources (tools, guidance, training, etc.) to advance global biosafety and biosecurity capabilities toward the World Health Organization Joint External Evaluation target.  Countries are expected to highlight their own priority needs related to biosecurity and biosafety and contribute toward collective action in addressing global gaps in biosecurity and biosafety.

Laboratory biosecurity describes the protection, control, and accountability for valuable biological materials within laboratories as well as information related to these materials and dual-use research, in order to prevent their unauthorized access, loss, theft, misuse, diversion or intentional release.[1]

[1] Definitions drawn from

Laboratory biosafety describes the containment principles, technologies and practices that are implemented to prevent unintentional exposure to pathogens and toxins, or their accidental release.1


[1] Definitions drawn from

Previous APP3 chairs during the GHSA 2024 reauthorization period include:

  • 2023: The United States of America and the GHSA Consortium
  • 2022: The Republic of Uganda and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
  • 2021: The Caribbean Public Health Agency
  • 2019-20: The Portuguese Republic
  • 2018-19: The Kingdom of the Netherlands

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