Regulatory Gaps in the Global Governance of Synthetic Biology

11 / 2014
Florian Rabitz

Synthetic biology is an emerging technology with potentially far-reaching benefits and risks. As a cross-cutting issue, different aspects of synthetic biology fall within the scope of different international agreements. Contemporary biosafety and biosecurity frameworks are characterized by important regulatory gaps which policy makers need to address to minimize risks that may arise in the future both from commercial use and weaponization. In some cases, this may require formal treaty amendments, whereas others can possibly be resolved at lower levels, for instance through interpretive statements of treaties’ decision-making bodies.

About the author:

Florian Rabitz was a doctoral researcher at the IES from 2009 until 2014 within the FWO project “governing through regulatory complexes: the European and international management of genetic resources”. He is currently a visiting Professor at the Institute for International Relations, University of São Paulo, working primarily on international environmental regimes and intellectual property rights.