The Biosafety and Biotechnology Unit (SBB) of the Scientific Institute of Public Health (WIV-ISP) is in charge of the administrative and scientific secretariat of the Biosafety Advisory Council.
The SBB has been created in 1995 and is composed of a multidisciplinary group of scientists performing scientific expertise and research focusing on biosafety-related matters. The main missions of the SBB are the following:
Expertise: The SBB offers a responsive and reliable source of scientific expertise for the Federal and Regional Competent Authorities and the Biosafety Advisory Council in relation with the assessment of the risks for human health and the environment of activities involving GMOs and/or pathogens. The SBB ensures under strict quality standards the archiving, traceability and confidentiality of data contained in regulatory dossiers.
Support: The SBB provides scientific support to the Belgian Competent Authorities in official fora dealing with biosafety matters at EU and international level, ensuring the continuity of technical and scientific expertise and the scientific consistency of Belgium's position within the different bodies. The SBB is national Focal Point for the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
Research: Through extensive literature reviews on emerging topics and participation in research projects at Belgian and European levels, the SBB contributes actively to scientific research in support to the assessment of the health and environmental impacts of GMOs and pathogens.
Communication and Information: The SBB strives to meet the needs of various stakeholders via different forms of communication and information, in particular the publication of scientific reports and peer-reviewed papers, the organisation of scientific events and the website Belgian Biosafety Server. Through these initiatives the SBB also aims at reinforcing the link and partnership with the scientific community.