1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
To help strengthen the cooperation between the Participants and promote international bioengagement and biological threat reduction, in accordance with the Participants’ core missions.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
DOS provides funding to ARS for the purposes of implementing two biological threat reduction programs: The ARS Former Soviet Union Scientific Cooperation Program (“FSU Program”) and the Biosecurity Engagement Program (“BEP”). In 1998, with funds from DOS, ARS initiated a program designed to provide opportunities for scientific cooperation between ARS scientists and scientists in research institutes of the former Soviet Union (FSU) countries. The objectives of the FSU program are to: • Advance agricultural science by establishing new expertise in FSU countries • Enhance the effectiveness and productivity of ARS research programs • Improve the economy of FSU countries through advances in agricultural technology • Reduce the threat of biological and chemical weapons development and usage in the world ARS accomplishes these goals by establishing collaborative, mutually beneficial research projects, whose proposals are developed jointly between principal investigators from ARS and the FSU; maintaining substantial contact between ARS and FSU scientists; and optimizing the collaboration at the scientist level and sharing success between the ARS and FSU laboratories.
3. Progress Report
The Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP) is committed to developing cooperative international programs that promote the safe, secure and responsible use of biological materials that are at risk of accidental release or intentional misuse. BEP funds advance agricultural science by establishing new expertise in BEP countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, enhance the effectiveness and productivity of ARS research programs, and help to improve the economy of BEP countries through advances in agricultural science and technology. In FY 2010, BEP will provide funds to ARS to support nineteen projects in total, five of which are new collaborations. This year, BEP will receive $1.587M, including funding to: (1) Continue important Rift Valley Fever control projects in Kenya, Egypt, and Yemen; (2) Support research into control of Newcastle disease in Indonesia; (3) Study diseases with significant economic impact on animal health and production in the Philippines; (4) Evaluate vaccines for Avian Influenza, in cooperation with partners from Egypt; (5) Characterize Newcastle disease and Avian Influenza viruses in Pakistan; (6) Support Foot and Mouth Disease control programs in Vietnam, Pakistan, india, and South Africa; (7) Provide training to foreign scientists in diagnostic techniques for Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease (8) Work with scientists in Pakistan to collect and preserve germplasm from clonally-propagated species – the first BEP funding provided to ARS for a non-animal health-related project; (9) Conduct workshops with scientists from Afghanistan and Pakistan to identify research priorities for veterinary and vector borne diseases. These BEP-funded programs contribute to the USDA departmental priority of promoting global food security, and support USDA’s role in reducing global biological threats (part of the President’s Strategy for Countering Biological Threats, for which ARS is the departmental lead). BEP funding for work with Afghanistan and Pakistan supports, and is aligned with, USDA bilateral and trilateral engagement programs with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Monitoring and oversight is conducted thru quarterly technical progress reports, which ARS provides to the Department of State. ARS also participates in monthly coordination meetings for all BEP implementers.