CBW Scientific Advisory Group
1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In 1970, WHO published the Health aspects of chemical and biological weapons. After consultation within and outside WHO, a revision of this publication was initiated by CSR early in 1998. The prepublication version of the second edition was disseminated in November 2001, and final publication is expected by the middle of 2003.
More than 100 scientists and experts world-wide contributed to this effort, involving several non-governmental institutions (e.g. Pugwash), academia (e.g. Harvard–Sussex Program), other international organizations (e.g. UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Rome; International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva; World Animal Health Organisation (OIE), Paris; Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), The Hague; UN, New York and Geneva; International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Trieste and New Delhi; World Food Programme (WFP), Rome), several WHO programmes and WHO Regional Offices. In addition, informal channels for information exchange have been established between several experts and diplomats involved in the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and several institutions working in this field.
The World Health Assembly of May 2002, by means of resolution WHA55.16, requested the Director-General, inter alia, “to continue to issue international guidance and technical information on recommended measures to deal with the deliberate use of biological and chemical agents to cause harm and to make available this information on WHO’s web site”. Therefore, there is a need for WHO to continue to have access to the relevant technical and scientific advice on public health aspects of CBW preparedness and response.
2. THE CBW SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY GROUP
The overall objective of the Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) Scientific Advisory Group (CBW/SAG) is to continue providing advice to the Secretariat on issues related to CBW, with regard to planned activities and their possible implications for WHO. The CBW/SAG will consist of a core group of experts, identified by the inter-cluster CBW Working Group according to their international experience and knowledge in these fields. There should be a wide geographical representation and the members would be appointed by the relevant Executive Directors.
Terms of reference
- Provide strategic advice on scientific and technical issues related to the public health implications of CBW preparedness and response;
- Provide independent evaluation at a strategic level of WHO’s activities (e.g. the composite workplan), including priority setting of the programme on CBW preparedness and response;
- Identify and advise on new scientific opportunities, international initiatives, and collaboration, as appropriate.
The CBW/SAG will be comprised of 12-14 external scientists or technical experts who will serve in their personal capacities to represent the range of public health disciplines relevant to CBW preparedness and response. Regional Offices will be invited to participate to the work of the CBW/SAG. Other relevant international organizations and regional initiatives will also be invited to contribute as observers.
Members are being identified by the inter-cluster CBW Working Group and will be appointed by the relevant Executive Directors. Members must complete the WHO form for declaration of interests.
Duration of membership and rotation Members of the CBW/SAG will be appointed to serve for a period of two years and will be eligible for further reappointment up to a maximum of six years. To maintain continuity of membership, the duration of the initial terms of office of group members will be staggered. A member can be released at any time following the decision of the relevant Executive Directors.
The first meeting of the CBW/SAG will be held in September or October 2003.