In decision 15/31, the Conference of the Parties (COP) established a process for broad and regular horizon scanning, monitoring and assessment of the most recent developments in synthetic biology. This process should consist of (a) Information gathering; (b) Compilation, organization and synthesis of information; (c) Assessment and (d) Reporting on outcomes. To support this process, the COP established the multidisciplinary Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on synthetic biology and requested the Executive Secretary to convene this online forum to support the work of the multidisciplinary AHTEG.
The first meeting of the multidisciplinary AHTEG was held from 11 to 14 July 2023 and a process for the 2023-2024 intersessional period consists of both multidisciplinary expert-driven submissions by members of the multidisciplinary Expert Group and a literature review to be conducted by the Secretariat. The process can be found in Annex I of the report of the meeting of the multidisciplinary Expert Group: https://www.cbd.int/meetings/SYNBIO-AHTEG-2023-01.
Following a multidisciplinary-expert driven submission process, the experts identified a prioritized list of seventeen (17) trends and issues in synthetic biology. Further, of the 17 trends and issues in synthetic biology, the following five (5) were identified for more detailed information gathering to inform the assessment step:
- Self-spreading vaccines for wildlife
- Self-limiting insect systems
- Development of engineered gene drives to control vector-borne diseases and invasive species
- Integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning
- Inequity in the participation of developing countries in the context of synthetic biology
Accordingly, online discussions of this forum will be convened to gather additional information and support the assessment step, which will be conducted by the multidisciplinary AHTEG at their next meeting in January 2024.
The forum will be moderated by Mr. Florian Rabitz, Lithuania.
The forum will open at 12:00PM (noon) on Monday, 6 November 2023, Montreal time (Eastern Standard Time (EST)).
The forum will now close at 17:00 (5:00 pm) EST on Wednesday, 22 November 2023.
Please note: A time change occurs (end of Daylight Savings time) in Montreal, Canada on 5 November 2023.