B News & Events

The IAP Biosecurity Working group will gather world-leading experts to provide independent input on developments in relevant areas of science and technology, to assist the States Parties in preparing for the 8th Biological Weapons Convention (BTWC) Review Conference in December 2016. The Royal Society, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and the Polish Academy of Sciences, current chair of the IAP Biosecurity Working Group, have partnered to lead the effort. A Trends Symposium will be held 13-15 September 2015 in Warsaw, Poland, and bring together international researchers in areas of interest for the BTWC with government technical experts who will help analyse the policy implications of recent developments. The output of this symposium will be in the form of short non-technical summaries and a longer technical report to be issued ahead of the December 2015 BTWC Meeting of State Parties in Geneva, Switzerland.

1-5 December 2014

The 2014 Meeting of States Parties was held in the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Polish delegation was comprised of seven representatives, including prof. Ryszard Słomski, who acted as a delegate and a non-governmental organisation representative.
In accordance with the decision of the Seventh Review Conference, the issues considered at the meeting encompassed: cooperation and assistance, with a particular focus
on strengthening cooperation and assistance under Article X of the Convention; review of developments in the field of science and technology related to the Convention;
and strengthening national implementation, as well as implementation of the decisions of the Article VII, discussed at the Meeting of Experts in August 2014.
The standpoint of the Biosecurity Working Group of IAP was presented by Jo Husbands (National Academy of Sciences – USA) on the first day of the conference IAP Statement BWC MSP December 2014. It refered to the following issues: the need to exchange the equipment, materials and technological information connected with the use of biological and toxin substances for peaceful purposes; profits resulting from science development and problems connected with the potential use against the Convention. The States Parties agreed to exchange good practice and experience, strengthen national institutions and exchange good practice with proper regional and sub-regional organisations in order to implement the Convention on national level. They also emphasized that the discussion about strengthening the ability of the States Parties to provide help on the basis of Article VII is of great value and should be continued, taking into consideration the experience gained at fighting off infectious diseases, what is especially important in view of the Ebola virus epidemy in West Africa.

16 May 2014

The meeting was organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic
of Poland and co-organized by: Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznań University of Economics, Office of Agricultural Affairs of the American Embassy in Warsaw, Biosecurity Working Group of IAP - the Global Network of Science Academies, Committee of Biotechnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) and Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the PAS.

The subject matter of the conference comprised bio-safety problems in agriculture, medicine, food and ecology - topics which are the object of interest of key decision makers, scientists, academia as well as the general public. The following aspects were discussed in detail during
the meeting: international legislation procedures related to the potential dual use of innovative technologies (1925 Geneva Protocol, Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention, Chemical Weapons Convention, UN Security Council Resolution 1540); the challenges connected
with the use and misuse of new technologies and potential risk for national and international security; the lack of awareness among scientists and the lack of coordination of actions aiming at including ‘’dual use education’’ as a part of training for life scientists (lack of access to effective teaching materials in languages other than English). The key recommendation of the conference is: ‘’An introduction to dual use issues should be a part of education of every life scientist’’
(Jo Husbands in her lecture).

The conference was a significant step in the process of education and raising awareness (among the academic and scientific communities) of the importance of the dual use dilemma today when a threat of terrorism is a real danger facing the society. The event was attended by many students and PhD students what holds promise for a wide dissemination of its outcomes.

Professor Ryszard Słomski from Polish Academy of Sciences represented IAP the Global Network of Science Academies at the Meeting of Experts (MXP) of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in Geneva.  

The IAP Biosecurity Working Group organized a “Workshop on Advances in Understanding Pathogenicity” on 3 August 2014 in Tiffany Hotel in Geneva. The workshop was attended by over 30 experts in the field; a copy of the agenda, the speaker bios, the discussion questions and a photo are attached (s. attachments 1 and 2).  The meeting was dedicated to opportunities and challenges of two complementary issues - strategies for targeting pathogen virulence factors and examples of the modification of the immune response to a pathogen - and the implications of this research for the BWC and biosecurity. The meeting was held just prior to the MXP in hopes of increasing the direct engagement of technical experts from key States Parties who could help draw out the implications for the BWC of the material presented by scientific experts and increase the opportunities for the results to inform the discussions during the MXP and beyond.

9-13 December 2013

The Polish delegation comprised of five representatives, including prof. Ryszard Słomski, who acted as a delegate and a non-governmental organisation representative. The issues considered at the Meeting of State Parties encompassed strengthening of cooperation and help on the basis of Article X of the Convention; review of achievements in science and technologies connected with the Convention, supporting implementation of the Convention provisions, increasing participation of countries in the Confidence-Building Measures and making the Convention universal. During the conference prof. Słomski presented a standpoint of the Biosecurity Working Group of IAP as a result of the workshops conducted on 5 and 6 December 2013 in Warsaw. During the Consolidating Biosecurity Education session, devoted to progress in education and potential dual use of scientific developments, the findings of the 2009 Workshop on Education about Dual-Use Issues were updated. Prof. Słomski presented the progress in implementation of the workshop findings concerning potential misuse of scientific developments.