OPCW Scientific Advisory Board Issues Report on the Convergence of Chemistry and Biology

30 June 2014
OPCW staff and members of the Members of the Scientific Advisory Board.

OPCW staff and members of the Members of the Scientific Advisory Board.

The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) held its 21st session from 23 to 27 June 2014 at the OPCW headquarters in The Hague under the chairmanship of Professor Alejandra Graciela Suárez (Argentina) and Dr Christopher Timperley (United Kingdom) as vice-chair.

The SAB endorsed reports received from its three Temporary Working Groups: on education and outreach in science and technology, which held its third meeting in November 2013; on verification, which held its third meeting in April 2014, and on the convergence of chemistry and biology, which held its fourth and final meeting in November 2013. The SAB also produced a final report [PDF – 496 KB] from its work on the convergence of chemistry and biology.

An opening statement to the session delivered on behalf of the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, highlighted the importance of science and technology to full and effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

“Advances in science and technology, and their impact on security, drive our work,” the Director-General’s statement said. “Science and technology play an especially important role in guarding against the re-emergence of chemical weapons – in any guise – and also allow us to improve protective capacity. I wish to thank current and previous SAB members for their contributions to ensuring the readiness of the OPCW to respond to unexpected and unprecedented situations.”

The SAB Chairperson, Professor Suárez, noted that awareness raising, education and outreach are extremely important activities for the OPCW’s future. She added that engaging a broad range of experts and stakeholders is important to produce sound and actionable scientific advice for the policy-makers. The session also heard from three guest speakers: Dimitri Finker of the IAEA, on technology foresight; Leiv Sydnes, on activities of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC); and Bradley Miller, on activities of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The SAB comprises 25 independent scientists representing all regional groups and provides expert scientific advice to the Director-General on CWC-related issues. Five new members attended for the first time: Dr Veronica Borrett (Australia), Dr Dr S K Raza (India), Mr Valentin Rubaylo (Russian Federation), Dr Koji Takeuchi (Japan), and Mr Cheng Tang (China).

A report on the session will be issued shortly, followed by the Director-General’s response. For more information about the SAB, please visit our webpage or contact Stian Holen, Secretary to the Scientific Advisory Board.

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