IAP created the Biosecurity Working Group (BWG) in 2004 to bring the scientific and international community together to develop responses to dual use issues in the life sciences. Its first product, the 2005 IAP Statement on Biosecurity was endorsed by more than 70 IAP member academies and presented and discussed at the 2005 United Nations Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) experts and states parties meetings. Today the BWG’s major objectives are to:
- Raise awareness and knowledge in the scientific and international community on the risks connected with the potential misuse of developments in the life sciences through educational and information dissemination activities.
- Improve the ability of IAP institutions and other international scientific organizations to advise national governments on the security implications of continuing advances in the life sciences and related fields and apply the resources of IAP to international security institutions, especially the BWC.
Publication of the report on "Trends in Science and Technology Relevant to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention: Summary of an International Workshop", October 31 to November 3, 2010, Beijing, China. Follow the LINK to download the Summary.
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The BWG also undertakes ad hoc activities. The Working Group has organized two International Forums on Biosecurity, one in 2005 in cooperation with the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP) and one in 2008 in cooperation with IAMP, the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS), the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB), and the national academies of Hungary and the United States. The BWG also conducts projects on specialized topics, for example a workshop organized in cooperation with IUBMB, IUMS, and the Polish Academy of Sciences in November 2009 that led to the report, Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences.
With regard to trends in science and technology (S&T), the BWG worked with ICSU and the UK Royal Society on a 2006 workshop that provided an independent input to the 6th BWC review conference. In preparation for the 7th BWC review conference, the IAP BWG cosponsored a second workshop on trends in S&T with IUBMB, IUMS, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which was held in Beijing in November 2010. A report of the meeting Life Sciences and Related Fields: Trends Relevant to the Biological Weapons Convention was released in October 2011.
The current list of members consists of: the Polish Academy of Sciences (chair), the Australian Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Cuban Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology of Egypt, the Indian National Science Academy, the Nigerian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 2010 the Polish Academy succeeded the Royal Dutch Academy of Science in the position of the Group’s chair. The IAP BWG plans to add additional state and regional organization members in 2012.
Professor Andrzej Gorski, Vice President, and Dr. Urszula Wacjen, Director, Office of International Relations, Polish Academy of Sciences (email: Urszula.Wajcen@pan.pl).