NATO’s first international strategy on biotechnology and human enhancement technologies

NATO international strategy on biotechnology

NATO Allies broke new ground by adopting the first international strategy to govern the responsible development and use of biotechnologies and human enhancement technologies at a meeting of Allied Defence Ministers in February and NATO released a public version of the strategy.

Faced with the exponential growth of biotech breakthroughs and their anticipated impact on defence and security, NATO has positioned itself as an ethical leader on biotech and human enhancement technologies by adopting an informed, value-based and gender-aware strategy.

The aim is to embrace these emerging solutions lawfully and responsibly, while developing a trusted relationship with innovators and the public and protecting the Alliance against misuse of these technologies by strategic competitors and potential adversaries. Implementation of the strategy will be carried out in full respect of international law and existing protocols and practices, especially for bioethics.

Application of biotech-related solutions will be in line with NATO’s defensive nature. It can range from the possible use of biosensors to enhance the detection of biological and chemical threats; to the development of health tech wearables; and other biomaterials that can help protect and heal servicemen and women.

Expert research on opportunities and challenges linked to such an application will start in the months to come.

Biotechnology and Human Enhancement technologies were identified as a priority emerging, disruptive technology in 2019.