The Harvard Sussex Program (HSP) in association with the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) hosted a ‘Sussex Day’ workshop titled ‘Deconstructing the Final Document of the BWC Seventh Review Conference’. The meeting was attended by a number of interested parties, including NGOs and representatives of academia as well as individuals from various UK government departments and took place on Thursday 8th March 2012. The meeting was comprised of two sessions: the first on what happened and why; and the second looking at where we go from here?
As the rapporteur’s summary from this meeting indicates the issue of science and technology (S&T) was raised in both sessions of the workshop. It was noted that the annual S&T Standing Agenda Item that was agreed in 2011 has the potential to result in a number of different outcomes. It was suggested that discussion on the benefits and challenges posed by different developments in S&T would not necessarily result in recommendations, but would fill a perennial lacuna in scientific discussion under the Convention. In contrast, there was scope for developing recommendations when discussing topics that are more action-orientated, such as biological risk management or education and oversight. Examples of recommendations could include proposed methods to promote screening guidance for gene synthesis suppliers. Others suggested that the number and breadth of topics to be discussed under the Standing Agenda Item would make meetings very busy and open the way for potential mischief-makers, accordingly, it was agreed that the role of the Chair and the Vice Chairs would be important shaping the discussion.
- July 25, 2012