Meeting of Experts (18-22 August 2008) - Bringing Biologists on Board
The 2008 Meeting of Experts was held in the Palais des Nations from 18 to 22 August 2008. Ninety-six States Parties participated in the meeting, along with four signatory states and three observer states. A range of international organizations, scientific and professional associations, commercial industry and NGOs were also represented.
The Meeting of Experts was chaired by Ambassador Georgi Avramchev of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In accordance with the decision of the Sixth Review Conference, the Meeting of States Parties (1- 5 December 2008) will consider the work of the Meeting of Experts to discuss, and promote common understanding and effective action on:
1. National, regional and international measures to improve biosafety and biosecurity, including laboratory safety and security of pathogens and toxins.
2. Oversight, education, awareness raising, and adoption and/or development of codes of conduct with the aim of preventing misuse in the context of advances in bio-science and bio-technology research with the potential of use for purposes prohibited by the Convention.
The 2008 Meeting of Experts was completed successfully on 22 August. The Meeting adopted its report by consensus.
Relevant Scientific & Technological Developments
One of the mandated tasks of BWC Review Conferences is to "take into account any new scientific and technological developments relevant to the Convention". The last such review took place at the Sixth Review Conference in 2006 and the next is schedules for 2011. During its efforts to prepare for the Meeting of Experts, the Implementation Support Unit identified a number of developments in science and technology that have either come about, or developed significantly since the last comprehensive review. Details of advances identified in the lead up to the Meeting of Experts can be found on the Relevant Scientific & Technological Developments page. See also the seminar Synthetic Biology: Engineering Life Science by the Geneva Forum in coordination with the ISU.
Documents and Other Information
Official Documents for the Meeting of Experts
Compendiums of National Approaches
In his letters to States Parties, the Chair of the 2008 meetings requested "a brief outline or overview" of national approaches to the topics under consideration "to optimise our use of time". He went on to add that this was not "extra or additional information, or... any kind of reporting requirement" but that the compendium was a tool to enable information generated by meetings of the BWC to be shared in a more efficient manner and more readily accessible to assist States Parties in their preparations for the meetings, during their national activities and in preparation for the Seventh Review Conference and future efforts.
Biosafety & Biosecurity Statements and Presentations
Oversight, Education, Awareness Raising & Codes of Conduct Statements and Presentations
Statements by the Chair
For the first time, the 2008 BWC Meeting of Experts included informal poster sessions, allowing experts a new way to present information relevant to the topics under consideration. These informal session took place between 09.00 and 10.00 in the Snail Bar on the 3rd Floor of E Building in the Palais des Nations. A session dedicated to Topic 1 (biosafety and biosecurity) took place on Tuesday 19 August 2008
. Topic 2 (Oversight of Science, Education, Awareness Raising and Codes of Conduct) was dealt with on Thursday 21 August 2008
. Posters remained up for as much of the week as possible. Both events were public. Electronic copies of the posters (where available) can be found below
Panel Discussions with the Chair
Statements by Non-Governmental Organisations
Press Releases for the Meeting of Experts
Side Events at the Meeting of Experts