On 18 March 2021, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) kicked off a multi-week Workshop on the Modalities of a Scientific Advisory Process for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) with 40 senior scientists, diplomats, academics and other key stakeholders around the world. The aim of the workshop is to prepare a recommendation to create an advisory mechanism to be considered at the Ninth Review Conference of the BWC.
On the second part of the Workshop (25 March) speakers made presentations about scientific advisory mechanisms in other multilateral forums, and about the recent proposals that have been made in BWC meetings. The discussions focused on the areas of agreement for a new process (independent, strictly technical, free from political considerations), and the areas of disagreement (size of the body, its composition, qualifications of its members, etc).
A second workshop will reconvene the participants later this year with the aim of resolving areas of disagreement and finalising a consensus proposal for consideration by BWC States Parties.
IAP is a key partner in these meetings, and several of its Biosecurity Working Group members have been invited to participate in the workshops.