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NTI endorses Joint NGO Statement at Biological Weapons Convention Meeting

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Michelle
Nalabandian
from NTI’s biosecurity program (NTI | bio) joined
government officials and experts from around the world in Geneva, Switzerland last
week for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) 2018 Meeting of States Parties
(MSP) and the first annual
Global
Forum on Scientific Advances Important to the BWC
(Global Forum),
organized by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

NTI joined more than 40 individuals
and leading non-governmental organizations and institutions to endorse the Joint
NGO Statement to the BWC 2018 MSP
, which:

  • Highlights the need for continued and further
    engagement with scientists and experts on scientific advances relevant to the
    BWC;
  • Encourages countries that are concerned about a
    biological weapons threat from another country to address these concerns
    through existing mechanisms under the BWC Article V provision that requires
    states to consult bilaterally and multilaterally to resolve any problems with
    the implementation of the BWC;
  • Expresses concern about the lack of resources
    and funding for the BWC and Implementation Support Unit, and encourages Member States
    to fulfill financial obligations; and
  • Reiterates the importance of implementing the
    BWC Article VII provision requiring states to initiate a request for assistance
    in case of exposure to a biological danger as a result of a violation of the
    BWC.

The Global Forum facilitated engagement between scientists,
policymakers, and BWC delegations to address rapidly emerging advances in
biology and biotechnology and their impact on biological weapons policy. The
event featured expert panel discussions to address impacts of emerging biotechnologies
on bioweapons nonproliferation policy. This discussion complements work within
NTI’s Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative, launched
in October 2018
, to reduce biological risks associated with advances
in technology. The one-day event was held Dec. 3, prior to the start of the BWC
2018 MSP.

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