On 24 June 2021, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov addressed the 3rd International Scientific and Practical Conference Global Threats to Biological Security: Problems and Solutions, which was held in Sochi.
He started by pointing out the significance of the subject on the agenda in light of the continued spread of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide.
"The pandemic is not only threatening the lives of millions but has also highlighted the risks which the world's leading and most technologically advanced countries were not prepared for. The coronavirus has also delivered a crushing blow at globalisation, which was regarded as the foundation of international relations in the 21st century," Vladimir Norov emphasised.
He went on to say that COVID-19 had led to an upsurge in cybercrime and could also be used by bioterrorists, which means that the international community must coordinate law enforcement efforts and that the security services must cooperate to prevent acts of bioterrorism.
The SCO Secretary-General also pointed out that socioeconomic changes and environmental deterioration have led to a rise in many other infectious diseases. According to the WHO, 2 billion people get communicable diseases every year, and 14 million of them die. Over 40,000 people die from infectious diseases every day.
Infectious diseases are a leading cause of death and the main cause of premature death worldwide. Approximately 50 percent of the world's population constantly face the threat of endemic infections.
When speaking about the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the SCO Secretary-General noted that the SCO, which is marking its 20th anniversary this year, had passed the coronavirus test and demonstrated a high degree of unity, solidarity and mutual support and assistance.
He mentioned in this context the SCO member states' initiatives and effective measures taken within the framework of the Comprehensive Plan of Joint Action to counteract the threats of epidemics in the SCO region, which was adopted during the Moscow SCO Summit in 2020.
Apart from the COVID-19 problems, Vladimir Norov also spoke about issues related to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons (BTWC).
The conference, which was held to discuss the current problems of biosecurity and possible solutions to them, was attended by experts from over 50 countries, as well as from international organisations and NGOs. The event was organised by the Russian Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) together with the Russian Foreign Ministry.