A ceremony launching the German-Tunisian Partnership Programme for Excellence in Biological Security was held in Tunis on 17 February 2015. The ceremony was attended by senior representatives of the Tunisian Government, the German Ambassador in Tunis, Andreas Reinicke, and representatives of the participating German institutes, Reinhard Burger, President of the Robert Koch Institute – Federal Institute for Infectious and Non‑communicable Diseases, and Rainer Krischel, Director of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Tunisia.
As part of this cooperation, Tunisian scientists are to be trained in handling biological risks and dangerous pathogens safely. Courses will also be organised to improve networking and cooperation within the Tunisian health system with a view to recognising, diagnosing and combating highly infectious diseases. This will make it easier to manage biological security risks in Tunisia.
The German Ambassador in Tunisia, Andreas Reinicke, and representatives of the Tunisian Government – including Raouf Chatti, Director-General at the Tunisian Foreign Ministry, and Sonia Ben Cheikh, Director-General at the Health Ministry – emphasised the forward-looking nature of the programme. Tunisia, which plays a key role in the region, has long been an important partner for Germany. The two countries’ partnership for biological security is embedded in the transformation partnership through which Germany is supporting Tunisia as it makes the transition to sustainable, consolidated democracy.
Germany too benefits from the biological security partnership. Reinhard Burger, President of the Robert Koch Institute – Federal Institute for Infectious and Non‑communicable Diseases, said: “This programme also protects the German population from dangerous diseases.” He made it clear that biological risks do not stop at national borders.
Within the framework of the German Partnership Programme for Excellence in Biological and Health Security, Germany is helping several selected partner countries to control biological security risks more effectively. In Tunisia, one of the main countries in the programme, the Robert Koch Institute – Federal Institute for Infectious and Non‑communicable Diseases and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH are implementing the partnership in cooperation with leading Tunisian specialist institutions.