Last December, five #iGEMdelegates attended the Meeting of States Party to the Convention on Biological Weapons in Geneva.
One of them was Chris Isaac, seven time iGEMer for the Lethbridge teams.
Here is what Chris has to say about the #AfteriGEM experience:
The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is tasked with a herculean mission: to maintain international security and foster international cooperation on a limited budget. Despite the difficulties both monetary and political, states parties to the BWC meet annually in Geneva in order to come to a consensus on how to best strengthen the convention. Currently, the main weakness of the convention is the lack of legally binding mechanisms to verify international compliance. This has been a contentious issue, but progress is being made. Furthermore, given the tremendous importance of the BWC, it is relatively inexpensive compared to other Chemical, Radiological or Nuclear Treaties.
The time that we spent in Geneva was mainly spent on the United Nations campus. As a Non-Governmental Organization, our delegation sat at the rear of meeting room and observed the formalities of the formal plenary sessions. While policy and procedure greatly slow the temp of the meeting, it was an engaging look into international context surrounding biological weapons, and how the work that we do as synthetic biologists directly intersects with the development of international policy. This experience has shown that as scientists and engineers on the forefront of biotechnological advancements, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to ensure that our work serves to increase confidence in science, constructively inform policy, and strengthen international security.