iGEM Headquarters is currently in the process of assembling a delegation of iGEMers to attend the Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations (UN) Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in Geneva, Switzerland during early December this year. The BWC is a legally binding treaty that outlaws the development, production, and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons. It came into force in 1975, and now has 172 States Parties and 9 Signatory States. States that are party to the convention meet periodically to discuss the implementation of the convention. We want to observe the processes behind the maintenance and implentation of international legislation like the BWC, and be involved in conversations that relate to the use of synthetic biology.

This will be very similar to our experience last year at the UN Conference on Biodiversity, where we selected four students and one instructor to bring with us to represent iGEM. Our delegates attended the main meetings during the conference, as well as side-events relevant to synthetic biology. They were able to provide a positive voice for young people in the field of synthetic biology, by sharing their iGEM experience directly with policy-makers.

iGEM Delegates at UN CBD 2016
iGEM Delegates at UN Conference on Biodiversity, Cancun Mexico (Photo: Carlos Gustavo da Silva Nunes, 2016)

With the next meeting coming up very soon, iGEM's Ambassador to Latin America, Ana Sifuentes, and iGEM's Director of Safety and Security, Dr. Piers Millett, are hoping to assemble a team of iGEMers with special interest in policy, or biosafety and biosecurity.

by Abigail Sison
Ambassador to Australasia, After iGEM
Laboratory Technician, iGEM Headquarters

Learn more about the Biological Weapons Convention here.

Applications close today, November 17, but applications after this date may be considered if the responses are strong. Apply here.

If you are interested in joining an iGEM delegation in the future, let us know here, join the Delegate Program Interest Group.

If you are interested in reporting on other iGEM news from around the world, let us know here, or join the Reporter Program Interest Group

Other news