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AHTEG Current Activities

In its decision 14/19 the COP extended the mandate of the AHTEG in accordance with the terms of reference listed below.

In accordance with its terms of reference the AHTEG will build on the previous work of the Online Forum and Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group, and draw upon relevant information submitted by Parties, other Governments, relevant organizations and indigenous peoples and local communities through paragraph 10 of decision XIII/17, as well as information made available through the online forum and by the Secretariat, the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Synthetic Biology shall, in coordination with other bodies of the Convention and its Protocols:

  1. Provide advice on the relationship between synthetic biology and the criteria set out in decision IX/29, paragraph 12, in order to contribute to the completion of the assessment requested in decision XII/24, paragraph 2, building on the preliminary analysis prepared by the Executive Secretary in document CBD/SBSTTA/22/INF/17;
  2. Take stock of new technological developments in synthetic biology since the last meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group, including the consideration, among other things, of concrete applications of genome editing if they relate to synthetic biology, in order to support a broad and regular horizon scanning process;
  3. Undertake a review of the current state of knowledge by analysing information, including but not limited to peer-reviewed published literature, on the potential positive and negative environmental impacts, taking into account human health, cultural and socioeconomic impacts, especially with regard to the value of biodiversity to indigenous peoples and local communities, of current and near-future applications of synthetic biology, including those applications that involve organisms containing engineered gene drives, taking into account the traits and species potentially subject to release and the dynamics of their dissemination, as well as the need to avoid duplication with the work on risk assessment under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety;
  4. Consider whether any living organism developed thus far through new developments in synthetic biology fall outside the definition of living modified organisms as per the Cartagena Protocol;
  5. Prepare a forward-looking report on synthetic biology applications that are in early stages of research and development, vis-à-vis the three objectives of the Convention, by compiling and analysing information, including but not limited to peer-reviewed published literature;
  6. Recommend options for carrying out the regular horizon scanning, monitoring and assessing of developments referred to in paragraph 3 of decision 14/19;
  7. Prepare a report on the outcomes of its work for consideration by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice at a meeting to be held before the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of Parties.

For more information please refer to the calendar of activities available at https://bch.cbd.int/synbio/calendar.shtml