IAP and Biosecurity in Geneva

Tue, November 28, 2017

IAP has a long track record in promoting responsible research practices, dating back to establishment in 2004 of a Biosecurity Working Group representing 11 academies from both developed and developing countries, and the subsequent IAP Statement on Biosecurity released in 2005.

More recently, IAP and partners hosted an international workshop on ‘Assessing the biosecurity implications of genome editing technologies’ at Herrenhausen near Hanover, Germany.

In the intervening years, IAP has also engaged continuously with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) (see, for example here).

The next Meeting of States Parties (MSP) of the BWC will take place in Geneva on 4-8 December 2017. Once again, IAP will be present, hosting a side event on ‘Implementation in Action: IAP’s Experience in Engaging Scientists in Biosecurity’.

The impact of the discussions and decisions in Geneva ultimately depends on actions by governments and nongovernmental stakeholders around the world.  The main aim of this side event is to provide participants in the MSP with the opportunity to interact with scientists from selected countries and discuss how their national academies are working to support the goals of the BWC. During the side event, efforts by national academies and other actors on biosecurity activities in four diverse countries (Jordan, Pakistan, South Africa and Switzerland) will be presented.

Financial support for the event in Geneva has been provided by the Open Philanthropy Project.


Chair: Peter McGrath, Coordinator, InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), Trieste, Italy

13:00   Lunch: sandwiches, coffee, tea, water

13.30   Welcome, opening remarks, introductions Peter McGrath

13.40   Presentations by invited representatives (10 mins each):

  • Effective Practices in Addressing Bio-Risks in the Area of Research & Development: A Perspective from MENA Region: Dr. Nisreen Alhmoud, Director, Bio-Safety and Bio-Security Center/Royal Scientific Society, Amman, Jordan
  • Pakistan’s Experience in Engaging Scientists in Biosecurity: Dr. Zabta Khan Shinwari, Secretary General, Pakistan Academy of Sciences
  • The State of Biosafety and Biosecurity in Southern Africa: Prof. Iqbal Parker, Professor of Medical Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Awareness Raising and Education regarding the Misuse Potential of Biological Research in Switzerland: Ursula Jemal, PhD, Forum for Genetic Research, Swiss Academy of Sciences, and Jenal & Partners Biosafety Consulting

14.20    Plenary discussion with diplomats, delegation members and the audience following the presentation  

14.50   Closing remarks: Dr. Jo. L. Husbands, Scholar/Senior Project Director, U.S. National Academy of Sciences