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Senior Scholar Dr. Gigi Gronvall provides remarks at Biological Weapons Convention meeting

Center News


April 4, 2020 – Gigi Kwik Gronvall, PhD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provided virtual remarks at the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) meeting taking in place in Geneva from April 4 to 11, 2022.

Representing the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Gronvall gave a non-governmental organization statement, which was delivered to the BWC Preparatory Committee for the 9th Review Conference on April 4.

In her remarks, Dr. Gronvall noted that gaps persist in awareness around the biosecurity implications of research. She highlighted the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists, which are designed to promote responsible science and strengthen biosecurity governance. She also called on States Parties to formally acknowledge the Guidelines to signal biosecurity as a priority and encourage recommitment to domestic efforts to reduce risks associated with advanced life science research and technology development.

Finally, Dr. Gronvall acknowledged current debate on core BWC issues, including verification and compliance assessments, and encouraged States Parties to identify mechanisms that can increase assurance of compliance with their treaty obligations.

These issues are explored in a forthcoming preprint manuscript by Dr. Gronvall and colleagues, titled "BWC Assurance: Increasing Certainty in BWC Compliance."

The BWC is a disarmament treaty that essentially prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling, and use of biological and toxin weapons.