General information about the group
The Biosecurity Working Group (BWG) was created by IAP in 2004 to bring the scientific and international community together to develop responses to dual use issues in the life sciences. The Group's major objectives are to:
- raise awareness and knowledge in the scientific and international community on the risks connected with the potential misuse of developments in the life sciences through educational and information dissemination activities
- improve the ability of IAP institutions and other international scientific organizations to advise national governments on the security implications of continuing advances in the life sciences and related fields and apply the resources of IAP to international security institutions, especially the BWC (Biological Weapons Convention).
The project entitled „Programme on Biosecurity (Education in Biosecurity. Raising awareness on dual use issues.)", realised by the IAP BWG and coordinated by Professor Andrzej Górski, Vice-President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, started in 2011 and is designed to help raise awareness about dual use issues among the scientific community, which is responsible for reducing risks connected with the misuse of developments in science, in particular in the life sciences.
The above described objective of the project is being achieved through diverse activities undertaken by the IAP Working Group on Biosecurity. The regularly implemented educational and dissemination activities engage the scientific community in developing responses and, furthermore, continue to strengthen IAP's role in providing independent scientific advice to policy and decision-makers.
Since 2010 the Polish Academy of Sciences is in the position of the IAP Working Group's chair.
The following institutions also participate in the Group's work: National Academy of Sciences (USA), The Royal Society of London, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Cuban Academy of Sciences, Nigerian Academy of Sciences, Australian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences and Pakistan Academy of Sciences.
Three major areas of the IAP Working Group's interests include:
- trends in science and technology;
- outreach (support for individual academies and regional networks) and raising awareness of dual use issues within the international scientific community;
- education on biosecurity.
The activity of the IAP Working Group on Biosecurity in the framework of the project granted to the Polish Academy of Sciences comprises - within the scope of the above mentioned areas - in particular following tasks:
- organization and active participation in workshops and conferences
- releasing reports
- enlarging the network of academies directly involved in discussion on the issue by inviting new members to join the IAP Working Group on Biosecurity
- strengthening current ties with such organizations as: Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Implementation Support Unit, World Health Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and International Council for Science (ICSU).
Although the IAP's mission is to help mitigate potential risks that developments in research could be misused for biological weapons or terrorism, it should be underlined that its aim is also to ensure global scientific progress at the same time. Any measures undertaken by the IAP Working Group on Biosecurity cannot hamper vital scientific research and the wide availability of its results.