I spoke today at the 13th World Congress on Public Health in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the importance of the Chemical Weapons Convention in eliminating chemical weapons, verifying nonproliferation, promoting peaceful uses of chemicals, and on the Biological Weapons Convention in disease surveillance and prohibiting use of toxins and viruses as weapons. The panel, "Global Security Engagement and Public Health," was chaired by Dr. Mengistu Asnake of Pathfinders International and the Ethiopian Public Health Association, and also included Megan Thomas, Project Officer, Assistance and Protection Branch, with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and Dr. Anders Foldspang of the School of Public Health, University of Aarhus, Denmark.
The World Congress has brought together some 3,000 attendees from 116 countries around the globe for five days to discuss public health issues, challenges, opportunities, and threats. This Congress takes place every three years, the last having been in Istanbul in 2009, at which I organized a plenary on "Weapons of Mass Destruction and Public Health" with former OPCW Director-General Rogelio Pfirter, CTBTO director Tibor Toth, and BWC director Richard Lennane. The 14th World Congress will take place in Kolkata, India in 2015.