Hybrid Conference on Kazakhstan’s Initiative of an International Agency for Biological Safety
This conference will take place in a hybrid format. Please register to participate either in person at the GCSP or online.
The Geneva event will take place at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Maison de la paix.
Location: GCSP, Maison de la Paix, Petal 4
Chemin Eugene-Rigot 2D, 1202 Geneva
Conference Room 1, 4th floor
On the initiative of and with the support of the government of Kazakhstan, the GCSP is pleased to invite you to a conference on the creation of an International Agency for Biological Safety (IABS)
The proposal for an IABS was presented to the UN General Assembly in 2020 by the president of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. This initiative was further developed as a working paper at the Meeting of Experts on Institutional Strengthening of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) on 8 September 2021.
This proposal is based on the conviction that global modern threats, as exemplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, require a collective and collaborative approach – at the national, regional, and international levels – for the safety of all humankind. The proposal is intended to address existing gaps:
- The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the danger of mass infections, the risks of unpreparedness, and the potentially destructive force of a biological weapon.
- The possibility of bioterrorism, if dangerous biological agents fall into the hands of criminal non-state actors or terrorists, must now be addressed.
- Controversy over the origin of the pandemic is disruptive and erodes international solidarity. It underlines the urgent need for a competent international body to fight disinformation related to biosafety events.
- Even research and development for peaceful purposes carry risks for the population, including the danger of release of harmful bioagents into the environment. Advances in biosciences and biotechnology that increase these risks and must be addressed.
- Compliance/non-compliance with the BWC is determined partially by the intended use of pathogens or equipment, not the mere fact of their possession. This makes verification and trust between countries, non-governmental organizations, experts, and scientists more difficult.
The mission of the proposed Agency is to advance peace, health, and well-being for all by initiating and ensuring safety and control measures related to potential biological and biotechnological threats, and by promoting biological developments for peaceful purposes only.
This conference will allow in-depth discussion among official representatives, scientists, and experts from civil society about the challenges of implementation of the BWC, cooperation and assistance in case of violation of the Convention, multi-stakeholder partnerships for better preparedness and prevention as well as the potential role of an IABS.
If you cannot attend the in-person event at our premises in Geneva, we invite you to register to attend online.