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Biosecurity tools to manage public health and environmental risks

 

Glossary over Biosecurity tools to manage public health and environmental risks

Adverse health effect

A change in body function or cell structure that might lead to disease or health problems. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Alien species

An alien species is a species introduced outside its normal distribution.

Invasive alien species are alien species whose establishment and spread modify ecosystems, habitats, or species. (Source: MA  Glossary )

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Avian influenza

Avian influenza, or "bird flu", is a contagious disease of animals caused by viruses that normally infect only birds and, less commonly, pigs. Avian influenza viruses are highly species-specific, but have, on rare occasions, crossed the species barrier to infect humans. (Source: WHO, Avian influenza frequently asked questions  )

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Biodiversity

Biodiversity is a contraction of biological diversity. Biodiversity reflects the number, variety and variability of living organisms.

It includes diversity within species (genetic diversity), between species (species diversity), and between ecosystems (ecosystem diversity). (Source: GreenFacts)

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Biotechnology

Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof to make or modify products or processes for specific use. (Source: MA  Glossary )

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Capacity building

A process of strengthening or developing human resources, institutions, organizations, or networks.

Also referred to as capacity development or capacity enhancement. (Source: MA,  Glossary )

Contaminant(s)

A substance that is either present in an environment where it does not belong or is present at levels that might cause harmful effects to humans or the environment. (Source: GreenFacts)

Driver

Any natural or human-induced factor that directly or indirectly causes a change. (Source: MA  Glossary )

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Epidemiological studies

Studies on human populations, which attempt to link human health effects (e.g. cancer) to a cause (e.g. exposure to a specific chemical). (Source: GreenFacts)

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European Chemicals Agency

"ECHA is the driving force among regulatory authorities in implementing the EU's groundbreaking chemicals legislation for the benefit of human health and the environment as well as for innovation and competitiveness. ECHA helps companies to comply with the legislation, advances the safe use of chemicals, provides information on chemicals and addresses chemicals of concern." (Source: https://echa.europa.eu/home   )

Food & Agriculture Organization

"The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. We help developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since our founding in 1945, we have focused special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world's poor and hungry people. FAO's activities comprise four main areas:

  • Putting information within reach
  • Sharing policy expertise.
  • Providing a meeting place for nations.
  • Bringing knowledge to the field. "
Genes

The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein. (Source: NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

Genetic Engineering

The technique of removing, modifying, or adding genes to a DNA molecule [of an organism] in order to change the information it contains. By changing this information, genetic engineering changes the type or amount of proteins an organism is capable of producing, thus enabling it to make new substances or perform new functions. (Source: US Department of Agriculture, Glossary of Biotechnology terms  )

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Human health

A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

The health of a whole community or population is reflected in measurements of disease incidence and prevalence, age-specific death rates, and life expectancy. (Source: MA Glossary  )

Influenza

Influenza is a highly infectious viral disease that affects mainly the nose, throat, bronchi and, occasionally, lungs. It is a contagious illness characterized by fever, headaches, sore throat, body aches and congestion of the nose.

Influenza can also lead to pneumonia and death especially among children, the elderly, and those with serious medical condition.

The virus is transmitted easily from person to person via droplets and small particles produced when infected people cough or sneeze. Influenza tends to spread rapidly in seasonal epidemics. (Source: GreenFacts, based on FAO, Agricultural Department, Avien Influenza Glossary  )

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

IPCC publications are prepared by three Working Groups (WG I, II and III) composed of hundreds of scientists from many countries. The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (4AR), published in 2007, is available at www.ipcc.ch/ .

The "Summaries for Policymakers" by the three Working Groups, which were used as the source for the GreenFacts Digest on Climate Change (2007), can be found below:

The IPCC's previous report on climate change, the 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR), was also summarised by GreenFacts (click here for the Digest).

In 2007, the IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change". (Source: IPCC website  )

Invasiveness

In the context of genetically modified crops, invasiveness refers to the ability of a plant to spread beyond its introduction site and become established in new locations, where it may have a deleterious effect on organisms already existing there. (Source: GreenFacts, based on FAO Glossary of biotechnology & genetic engineering  )

Market-based instruments

Instruments of environmental policies in which a change in technology, behaviour or products is encouraged through financial incentives (either subsidies, taxes, price differentiation or market creation). (Source: Environmental Programme for the Danube River Basin Glossary   )

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Pathogenic organisms

Organisms, including bacteria, viruses or cysts, capable of causing diseases (typhoid, cholera, dysentery) in a host (such as a person). There are many types of organisms which do NOT cause disease. These organisms are called non-pathogenic. (Source: US EPA US EPA Drinking Water Glossary, A Dictionary of Technical and Legal Terms Related to Drinking Water  )

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Population

A group or number of people living within a specified area or sharing similar characteristics (such as occupation or age). (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

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Risk assessment

A scientifically based process consisting of four steps:

  • hazard identification,
  • hazard characterization,
  • exposure assessment and
  • risk characterization
(Source:   Official Journal of the European Communities 2002 L 31 )

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Risk management

The process, distinct from risk assessment, of weighing policy alternatives in consultation with interested parties, considering risk assessment and other legitimate factors, and, if need be, selecting appropriate prevention and control measure. (Source: Official Journal of the European Communities 2002 L 31   )

Route of exposure

The way people [or other living organisms] come into contact with a hazardous substance. Three routes of exposure are breathing [inhalation], eating or drinking [ingestion], or contact with the skin [dermal contact]. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )

Scenario

A plausible and often simplified description of how the future may develop, based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about key driving forces (e.g., rate of technology change, prices) and relationships.

Scenarios are neither predictions nor projections and sometimes may be based on a “narrative storyline.”

Scenarios may include projections but are often based on additional information from other sources. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )

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Species

A group of organisms that differ from all other groups of organisms and that are capable of breeding and producing fertile offspring. This is the smallest unit of classification for plants and animals. (Source: OceanLink Glossary of Common Terms and Definitions in Marine Biology  )

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Stakeholder

Individuals or groups that are affected by a decision and have an interest in its outcome. (Source: TDM Encyclopedia Glossary   )

Sustainability

A characteristic or state whereby the needs of the present and local population can be met without compromising the ability of future generations or populations in other locations to meet their needs.

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Synergy

When the combined effect of several forces operating is greater than the sum of the separate effects of the forces. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )

The International Renewable Energy Agency

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity. (Source: www.irena.org/  )

Toxin

A toxicant produced by a living organism. (Source: IPCS )

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