On 19 September 2016, jointly with the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI), the GCSP hosted some 60 diplomats from the Permanent Missions in Geneva to discuss the upcoming Review Conference of the BWC (7-25 November 2016).
During the morning session, Mr Ralf Trapp, independent consultant, addressed the risk posed by advances in life sciences, Dr Isabelle Daoust-Maleval, expert from the French Ministry of Defence, talked about the challenges to assess bio-threats and prepare for bio-defence, Dr Johannes Rath, from the University of Vienna, considered the risk management of controversial research, and Dr Brett Edwards, from the University of Bath, discussed security concerns related to synthetic biology.
In the afternoon session, “Dealing with BWC matters from a delegate’s perspective” was the topic addressed by Mr Ian McConville, from the Australian Permanent Mission while Mr Daniel Feakes, Head of the ISU, offered a practical guide to the BWC Review Conference. IN a final panel, Ambassadors Tehmina Janjua, from Pakistan, and Beatriz Londoño Soto, from Colombia, discussed strategies for taking the BWC forward, taking in particular into account the needs of developing countries and national implementation measures.
On 20 September 2016 a group of representatives from Permanent Missions visited the facilities of the Swiss NBC Laboratory in Spiez. They heard briefings on the contributions of that institution to the BWC implementation and its role, in particular, in the international investigations on alleged use of chemical or biological weapons as well as research on convergence between biology and chemistry.