Chemical and Biological Working Group
Following the use of anthrax spores to cause harm in the United States, WHO decided to strengthen its activities on chemical and biological weapons and to develop synergies within and outside WHO to better assist Member States for preparing and responding to such events. A Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) Working Group was established in WHO to better share information, activities and experience. It consists of WHO staff from:
- Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response
- International Programme on Chemical Safety
- Food Safety Programme
- Water and Sanitation
- Mental Health
- Emergency and Humanitarian Action
The objective of the CBW Working Group is to promote a coherent approach, and to foster collaboration and coordination among the various sections of the Organization which are implementing activities in response to resolution WHA55.16 of 18 May 2002 on Global public health response to natural occurrence, accidental release or deliberate use of biological and chemical agents or radionuclear material that affect health.
Information is also shared with WHO Regional Offices, some of whom have established similar groups.
An email address: firstname.lastname@example.org has been created to answer questions relating to WHO's activities on chemical and biological weapons.
Key activities undertaken by the CBW Working Group are:
- The Public health response to biological and chemical weapons: WHO guidance.
In addition, there is a plan to publish a number of Supplements on subject related to the public health implications of CBW such as psychosocial consequences, risk communication.
- Informal discussions on Strengthening national preparedness and response to biological weapons, Rome, Italy, 6-8 March 2002.
The meeting made several recommendations for the work of the CBW Working Group with countries.
- Meeting on Strengthening National Preparedness and Response to Biological Weapons,
- Development of a module on terrorism and other man-made disasters
The United Nations Disaster Training Management Programme's training module on "Terrorism and other man-made disasters".
- A Risk communication package on CBW threats is being developed.
- A searchable and interactive e-library of all documents and information on the Health aspects of biological, chemical and radionuclear threats. This e-library contributes to WHO’s efforts to respond to the request of Member States and improve preparedness and response programmes for these public health threats.
- The CD-ROM contains a compilation of relevant WHO publications and guidelines in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic (depending on their availability) from different WHO technical departments. It has a search engine option and its interface is available in English, French and Spanish.
- The e-library will be continually updated.
- English- (pdf 100k)
- French (pdf - 100k)