BioWeapons Prevention Project

BioWeapons Prevention Project
Civil society preparations for the 7th BWC Review Conference 2011 The Authors

What reporting requirements do we need for the BWC?

Hamburg Research Group for Biological Arms Control - "Reporting relevant information is indispensable for a strong Biological Weapons Convention" - 20 January 2011 ↓expand↓

Reporting is part of almost all multilateral control regimes. In the security arena it comes, for instance, in the form of declarations by regime members such as legally binding initial and annual declarations by states in the case of the Chemical Weapons Convention; monitoring by civil society such as the publication of the annual Landmine Monitor by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines which reports on states’ implementation of the Landmine Convention; regular meetings to exchange information such as the Australia Group meetings; or reports by national institutions such as the regular non-proliferation reports of the US government on state and non-state activities on weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means.

Reporting – albeit in different forms – is part of multilateral control regimes because, in order to regulate states’ or non-state actors’ behavior and to assess the effectiveness of such regimes, actors simply must have information about the activities they want to regulate. Without such information, assessing compliance and regime effectiveness is impossible, because there would be nothing to base such assessments on.

In the case of the BWC, states recognized this need for information when they established the confidence building measures (CBMs) in 1986. These are annual declarations by states on a range of topics including BSL-4 facilities, national legislation and biodefence activities. The CBM experience highlights a number of critical aspects of reporting:
  • Reporting should be restricted to the most relevant information. Otherwise the important information is drowned in a sea of unimportant data.
  • Reporting should be mandatory, not voluntary. Otherwise not all regime members participate (or are covered) and the data sets remain incomplete.
  • Reports need to be verified. Otherwise there is no incentive for the reporting actors to provide complete and correct data. Only verified data are useful for assessing compliance and regime effectiveness.
  • Reported information should not be witheld from civil society actors. Otherwise they can not be scrutinized independently. Limiting the access to data to states also violates the right of the people to know what their governments are doing.
While in the case of the last three points it is comparatively easy to deduct recommendations on how to improve reporting in the case of the BWC (and we would invite our fellow discussants to expand on these points), the first point is tricky. Defining what relevant information is, has proven to be extremely difficult. In the biological area, one can not (fortunately!) report on actual weapons (as in the case of the Chemical Weapons Convention or the Landmine Convention). Rather, one looks at dual use technologies and needs to ascertain to which use – peaceful or hostile – these are put.

So, is the label “dual use” enough to identify a specific activity as being relevant and therefore in need of reporting on? Does the strong dual use character of the life sciences imply that all information concerning biotechnology is relevant? Maybe yes. But to monitor all biotechnological activities of only one country would already be an impossible task. There is a need for a clearer definition of bioweapons relevant activities that goes beyond the concept of dual use.

I look forward to the ideas of other discussants on what topics we need reporting on, i.e. what concept we should use to distinguish relevant from not so relevant issues when it comes to reporting under the BWC.


Filippa Lentzos - "Submit and ... forget?" - 3 February 2011 ↓expand↓

The primary aim of the confidence building measures (CBMs) is to enhance transparency about national biodefence programmes to prevent any concerns that activities are taking place in breach of the Convention; or, more likely these days, to prevent any concerns that rapidly expanding civil biodefence programmes are not ‘creatively interpreting’ the Convention and the fine line between offensive and defensive activities to their own ends.

Their key purpose is about transparency, and – as Anna Zmorzynska pointed out in her introductory posting – transparency is firstly about the availability of relevant information. In other words, it is about collecting, processing and disseminating relevant information.

Although we still have some way to go, we are getting better at this:
  • More BWC States Parties than ever are now participating in the process.
  • Collectively, we have developed written guidance and hosted workshops for completing the forms; and assistance from the ISU and individual States Parties is available on a bilateral basis for those who need additional help.
  • The processing and dissemination of CBM returns have been updated since the last Review Conference (although more could be done to improve this further).
  • There are ongoing efforts by many States Parties to make their CBMs publicly available, demonstrating a willingness to maximise transparency.

Transparency, though, is about something more than just the availability of relevant information. It is also about analyzing that information, and ensuring that any outstanding questions are answered.

And it is this second step in the transparency process where we have a lot more work to do. There is currently little knowledge of how States Parties use the returns submitted. We do not know to what extent States Parties feel CBMs provide the necessary level of transparency about biodefence programmes and do their job in providing confidence. We do not know if the language of submission is a hindrance to their use. We do not have periodic, collective reviews of the CBM returns, and opportunities to seek clarification about the information submitted.

A discussion on how best to utilise CBM returns is therefore an essential element in preparing for the Review Conference that goes hand-in-hand with the discussions on how to update and revise the forms. One very welcome outcome of such discussions would be a Review Conference decision to establish some kind of forum for the regular consideration of CBM declarations. A ‘CBM review’ session could, for instance, be introduced at each of the annual meetings between Review Conferences. The repeated and collective scrutiny of CBM declarations in such dedicated sessions would enable more accurate assessments of national compliance with the Convention, and should provide a powerful incentive for States Parties to take the reporting seriously.


Ralf Trapp - "Review ... and what next?" - 10 February 2011 ↓expand↓

The BWC confidence building mechanism has been broadened in scope and the participation by States Parties has increased step by step over the years, from an initial return of 30 submissions in 1987 to 71 in 2010. A welcome recent tool added to the system was the “Guide to participating in the confidence-building measures of the Biological Weapons Convention”, prepared by the ISU with the support of the European Union. But to what extent have the CBM submissions created confidence in the proper implementation of the regime? Filippa Lenzos rightly points out that transparency is not just about submitting data but also about analyzing them and ensuring that any questions be answered - that part of the regime remains opaque.

From my previous OPCW experience I know that some States do indeed follow up on declarations by others and use bilateral contacts to clarify issues. The reports of two CWC Review Conferences have stated that these bilateral procedures have worked well and to the satisfaction of the parties concerned.

A similar possibility for bilateral consultation exists under Article V of the BWC, and I am sure it also has been used. The problem with any bilateral clarification approach, however, is that it remains just that: bilateral. The wider community of States Parties has limited or no knowledge about the fact that the consultations took place, what questions were raised, and whether and how they were answered. Whilst the procedure may alleviate concerns about treaty implementation between those parties involved, others are left in the dark.

I therefore agree, in principle, that a collective review of the CBM returns could be useful. I would however caution against expecting that such reviews by themselves would significantly increase transparency, at least at the beginning. Whilst I can see the merit of collective reviews, it remains to be seen how much of their analyses States are willing to share with the rest of the member states community. How much they are willing to expose to an even wider, non-governmental audience is yet another question. An indication is that of the 71 States Parties that have made CBM submissions in 2010, only 14 have actually agreed to place them on the ISU website. There is a risk, therefore, that any public review process might remain largely superficial and/or procedural.

That does not mean that such reviews would not have value. Experience from the OPCW Action Plan on national implementation shows that if the issues are not cast in compliance terms but in terms of reporting on implementation measures taken, leading into the possibility of technical assistance where needed to build national implementation capacity, States can be surprisingly open and willing to discuss sensitive issues in public.

It would then make sense to also think about the role that the ISU should take on in the preparation of such reviews, and perhaps more importantly in the follow-up. It would be difficult to expect the ISU to actually evaluate, from a compliance perspective, the data submitted. On the other hand, certain themes could lend themselves more easily to discussion and clarification in a collective environment. Examples are Forms D (active promotion of contacts between scientists, other experts and facilities) and E (declaration of legislation, regulations and other measures). To give just two examples: in the context of Form B, the ISU could be filling an information gap between submissions: whilst large conferences have long lead times and submissions of information about such upcoming events may be timely, there are also symposia that are organized on shorter notice. The ISU could be a point of dissemination for such information throughout the year. It could also help to establish contacts between interested parties and thus facilitate exchanges between States Parties and help promoting cooperation. As for the declaration of legislation, regulations and other measures in place to implement BWC requirements, such collective reviews could be linked to technical assistance measures to build up capacity in countries that currently lack the ability to implement the BWC in full. Such reviews could also help develop exchanges and working-level contacts between member states, for example at the regional level, to improve BWC implementation. The ISU could play a role both in terms of synthesizing the data for the review (including as may be needed through clarifications with countries that have submitted data that may require further elaboration), and in the planning and organization of any follow-up in the form of technical assistance and other cooperation projects.

Is there an opportunity to link the discussion about how to further improve the CBM mechanism with the discussions on how to implement Article X? I would suggest there is. Many of the points that Chandré Gould raises in her discussion piece on this website regarding a more successful implementation of Article X also point in this direction.


Eucharia Kenya / Margaret Muturi - "What influence does (lack of) confidence-building measures have on national implementation of the BWC?" - 16 March 2011 ↓expand↓

Confidence-building measures (CBMs) aim to lessen anxiety and suspicion by making the parties' behavior more predictable. CBMs are agreements between two or more parties regarding exchanges of information and verification, typically with respect to the use of military forces and armaments. Some measures attempt to make military capabilities more transparent and to clarify the intention of military and political activities.

In other contexts, the definition of CBMs has been expanded, or redefined, to meet a changing security environment. Increasingly the concept of CBMs is being used in practical applications to address the same challenges as the past but in very different environments. In recent years CBMs have been applied in post-conflict peace-building situations, in efforts to reduce armed violence and in finding means to address instability and insecurity. Often these CBMs have been used to address the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons. This group of weapons poses one of the biggest arms-related challenges to peace and security for many countries – especially in Africa. Efforts to reduce small arms and light weapons have led to other uses for CBMs, including disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration efforts (DDR), weapons collection programmes, and post-conflict peace-building.

Transparency is probably one of the best-known confidence-building measures. The Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures and the UN Register of Conventional Arms were both developed in recognition of the need to open these opaque areas to greater visibility. Both instruments are important, largely because the information is provided by governments and is accessible via the UN to other states.

Because of the “dual use” character of most of the activities in biotechnology, transparency is one of the key mechanisms for strengthening the BWC. Transparency about and the willingness to explain the biological activities performed in a given country are of utmost importance in order to increase confidence in the peaceful nature of activities. Excessive secrecy of military and civilian activities in the biological field will sooner or later lead to misinterpretation and might result in suspicions of non-compliance.

Due to the persistent lack of a verification mechanism for the BWC, the confidence building measures (CBMs) that States Parties to the BWC agreed on in 1986, remain the only transparency enhancing mechanism in the framework of the BWC. The CBMs, which took the form of data exchange measures, were extended at the Third BWC Review Conference in 1991. They were not discussed in detail at the Fourth Review Conference in 1996, and no or little progress was achieved on them during the Fifth and Sixth Review Conference in 2001 and 2006.

Drawing from experience within sub-Saharan Africa, lack of national CBM implementation is limited by state actors who do not see the need for this activity. This arises primarily from the perception that the issues therein are of little relevance within their countries whose priorities are targeted to meeting basic needs of their populations – food, responsible and responsive public health care systems, shelter, quality education, etc. The consequence of this attitude lead to very few if any submissions from this region, however, this is changing. For example, Kenya submitted its first CMB in 2010 and is aggressively compiling the one for 2011. Countries are increasingly realizing the usefulness in being in good standing among the ‘community of nations’ by meeting their international obligations. The completeness and therefore quality of these submission can only be known when put to public scrutiny.


Hamburg Research Group for Biological Arms Control - "What do we need to know?" - 25 March 2011 ↓expand↓

We followed the first round of exchange with great interest. To us, a few points stood out: 1) No one questions the usefulness of reporting. 2) Follow-up is important, but may be easily politicized if framed in the wrong way. 3) CBM compilation helps to increase oversight over national life science activities, but works properly only if other priorities are not too pressing. We would like to focus on the following, which has not been addressed in any detail yet: What data do we need? This is on the one hand about what topics should be covered in reporting, but on the other also from which countries do we need information and how often?

In trying to answer these two questions, we need to keep in mind that the most important task of the BWC is preventing large-scale bioweapons programmes with the potential to develop weapons causing massive death or disease. Accordingly, transparency is most important about activities that could contribute to such programmes.

To start with the second question above: obviously, if a country does not have biotechnology and life science capabilities, there is very little we need to be concerned about. From such a country we need only the basic information about its status in relation to the BWC, most importantly the date of BWC entry into force, a statement on past bioweapons activities including destruction of weapons, if applicable, and information about the transformation of the international prohibition into national law (which does not include biosafety and biosecurity legislation, given that such a country has no activities to be protected from or to protect). Such a basic statement could be made every five years at the BWC review conferences. Once a state is starting activities in the life sciences and biotechnology, reporting requirements will increase in tune with these developments.

The first question above is more complicated to answer. Looking back at the first round of discussions, we saw specific reference to the usefulness of reporting on biodefence programmes, mentioned by Filippa Lentzos. Ralf Trapp referred to reporting on national implementation measures, contacts between scientists, and disease outbreaks, although without judgement on whether these are useful topics or not. In general, developing a bioweapon happens in mainly three different stages – first, getting the agent (research and development stage); second, propagating and formulating the agent (production stage); and third, disseminating the agent (testing and weaponization stage) – and it is capabilities that would allow such work that we need transparency about.

Judging whether the work with a particular pathogen is for peaceful or hostile purposes is impossible. The pathogen itself is not a bioweapon (Smallpox is likely an exception). What is relevant at the research and development stage is manipulating and creating agents with certain characteristics that make them “more suitable” as weapons. Transparency about such activities is important, as is transparency about the capability to deal with high risk agents, an approximation for that would be the existence of BSL-4 and BSL-3 facilities.

At the production stage, we basically want to know whether a country has the capability for large scale production and formulation. The existence of vaccine production facilities is a relevant approximation here. There might be other relevant large scale production facilities.

At the testing and weaponization stage, we are looking at any kind of open air field testing, but also any work with aerosols. Weapons development as such is prohibited, but weapon testing for defensive purposes has been reported as part of biodefence programmes.

In deciding what this means in terms of CBM topics, we also need to keep in mind which of the activities are overseen already elsewhere. An example would be work with smallpox, for which there is an international oversight body at the World Health Organization or the oversight procedures governed by EU regulations on the work with genetically modified organisms.


Filippa Lentzos - "The CBM review: Bilateral, multilateral or public?" - 30 March 2011 ↓expand↓

I am going to pick up on a couple of points that Ralph Trapp made in response to my initial posting, but before I do so I will briefly follow up on Anna’s most recent post. I agree it is crucial to consider the kind of information exchanged through the CBMs. This was the aim of a series of three workshops convened by the Geneva Forum in collaboration with the LSE, and together with the Governments of Switzerland, Norway and Germany, that took place in 2009-2010. A comprehensive report of the workshops was put together and is readily available online for anyone who would like further discussion on the contents of the CBMs.

Turning now to Ralph Trapp’s posting, I was pleased that he sees merit in a collective forum for the regular consideration of CBM declarations. He notes, and I agree with him, that one of the main drawbacks of a bilateral CBM consultation is that other States Parties have limited or no knowledge that the consultation took place, which questions were raised, or whether and how they were answered.

Another drawback that I would like to highlight here is that a bilateral setting lacks the procedural rules and expectations that can be devised for multilateral settings. Bilaterally, a party is required under Article V to do all that it reasonably can to demonstrate transparency and compliance with its obligations under the Convention. This implies that it should continue in consultation with its interlocutor until the latter is satisfied. This is fine as long as the consultation is pursued in a problem-solving mode. However, if the consultation becomes adversarial, there is no procedure for judging what can reasonably be asked by party A, nor what can reasonably be done by party B to demonstrate transparency and compliance. In other words, there is no sense of ‘breaking the rules.’

This problem has already arisen at least once in the BWC context, when the US attempted to secure clarification from the USSR about the 1979 Sverdlovsk incident. The USSR felt it had fulfilled its obligation by explaining how an outbreak of anthrax in the human population had occurred. The US did not find the explanation satisfactory and insisted that it would only regard consultation and cooperation as having taken place in satisfaction of the USSR’s Article V obligation when its compliance concerns had been met with an explanation it could accept.

This example illustrates the subjective nature of bilateral consultations, and speaks to the advantages of a collective forum with established procedures for the consideration of CBM declarations.

The second point I want to pick up on is Ralph’s concern that States Parties might not be willing to share much of their CBM analyses in a collective review setting.

I should firstly clarify that I do not envision the review forum to be public – at least not initially. The CBM mechanism as it currently stands is an exchange of information between States Parties only. The fact that some States Parties are choosing to make their CBMs publicly available should be applauded and encouraged as this maximises transparency, but for now I do not think it helpful to push for a requirement to publicly disclose CBM returns. Neither, therefore, does it make sense to have a public review of the forms. As Ralph notes, any public review process would in all likelihood, at least at this stage, remain largely superficial and procedural.

The other point I wanted to make is that the forum should not be confrontational. The emphasis should be on cooperation in a common task, and building the BWC community-in-the-making. The CBM review forum in my mind should therefore not be compared with any experiences and annoyances from the first round (ending in 2011 and already under review in the Human Rights Council) of Universal Periodic Review (UPR). As my colleague Nicholas Sims has pointed out, there are many differences, both procedural and substantive. For a start, UPR is not treaty-based (except in so far as the UN Charter is itself a treaty). It was intended to perform a quite separate function, for the entire UN membership independent of adherence to specific human rights instruments (and was therefore aimed particularly at those instruments’ holdouts, who do not report to their individual Treaty Bodies), not bounded by the scope of a single treaty’s obligations as a CBM review forum would be. Even the unfortunate similarity of a 4-year cycle will disappear if the Human Rights Council opts (as seems likely) for a 5-year cycle from 2012 for the second round of UPR. If the CBM review forum is proactively devised with cooperation in mind and on the basis of the peculiarities of the BWC, I am confident States Parties will be willing to share their analyses in a collective setting.


Ralf Trapp - "From voluntary submissions to declarations - a good idea?" - 16 June 2011 ↓expand↓

I would like to pick up on three issues that have already been touched upon in this discussion: whether CBMs should be made mandatory, how the data submissions could be made more relevant, and whether and how the reported data could be reviewed.

There may be a perception that by making CBMs mandatory undertakings, the level of participation would instantly increase. Based on both procedural and legal considerations, one should not automatically expect that to be so. The experiences with CWC declarations as well as the reports under Security Council resolution 1540 have shown that there is a need for concerted and sustained efforts to convince and enable all parties to submit such reports and declarations, in particular if these are not simply one-off submissions. There are several factors that need to be taken into account: awareness of the requirement in governments, domestic priorities, legal constraints such as the possible need to adapt existing laws or create new legislation to give power to the State to collect the data and submit the information to external parties (in particular if the data belong to private entities), the capacity to create that legal framework (possibly in competition with other legislative initiatives) – to mention just a few.

But while the impact of mandatory CBM submissions would, in my view, not lead to an immediate improvement of the participation in the CBM exchange, it could have a positive impact on other aspects of BWC implementation. So far, efforts to encourage States Parties to adopt legislation and regulations to implement the BWC, as well as assistance offers to support them in this endeavour, have a clear focus on criminalisation of BW offences. This is also reflected in Form E of the CBMs. If CBM submissions are made mandatory, there will be a national requirement to regulate and administer these (and perhaps other, related) practical implementation measures, and to create standing domestic mechanisms and arrangements. That would help institutionalising the BWC implementation process at the national level.

For a change from voluntary to mandatory data submission, it is important to make the CBMs more relevant to the States Parties. There are different dimensions to this question and a systematic review of the content of the existing CBM system by the BWC parties might help to identify ways of further developing the content of the CBMs in line with the expectations and needs of the parties.

To give an example: Form A-1 relates to the reporting of facilities with maximum containment laboratories (BL 4 or equivalent). This reporting is relevant from a security and arms control perspective as it increases transparency regarding these facilities, their financing and their activities. Similar comments apply to Form A-2 which aims at increasing the transparency of national research and development programmes on biological defence, and Form G on vaccine production facilities. The CBM guide on the ISU’s website gives an indication of the amount of detail that is expected in these submissions. It appears to be fairly limited. As these are facilities that handle, for permitted purposes, biological materials that pose a high individual and community risk or specialize in permitted biological activities directly related to the Convention, one could wonder whether the level of detail required is such that it actually enhances confidence among the parties. That would speak in favour of requiring more detail in a mandatory submission.

On the other hand, expanding the content required under the CBMs may pose confidentiality questions. These would have to be addressed in terms of legal context and procedure. There is of course plenty of experience available from such organisations as the OPCW, but one should be aware that there is a potential for controversy as the system changes from voluntary to mandatory data submission. In the former case, the States has a relatively free hand to decide which data to include. In case of the latter, standards apply to all parties and what may appear relatively non-controversial to one party may be regarded as strictly confidential by another. Here is one of the down-sides of changing the system to mandatory: States that already today are reluctant to share their CBM returns with civic society may well be even more conservative when these submissions become formal declarations.

Should there be a discussion of whether additional data should be submitted, and what they should be? I think the answer is “Yes”. A change from a voluntary data exchange to a declaration system, if agreed, creates an opportunity to review the data formats and ensure that they are in line with the common objectives and expectations as well as constraints of the parties. Such a change would call for an assessment of the existing system at expert as well as policy levels to ensure that the data to be included in future returns are relevant to the parties and meet their expectations with regard to transparency as well as usefulness. That was already alluded to by Eucharia Kenya and Margaret Muturi when they pointed out that the lack of CBM returns is the result of some State actors not seeing the need for this activity, based on the perception that the issues therein are of little relevance within their countries.

Equally important for the relevance of the submissions to the parties is whether and how the submissions are being reviewed. Filippa Lenzos has already discussed this at some length, and I agree with the points she has made. An example for how such a review process could start is Form F on past offensive and/or defensive biological programmes. These are essentially one-off submissions on past programmes combined with an annual update on current defensive programmes and any other new information that may have come to light. It is quite possible that States that have concerns about the past programmes of other parties have already used bilateral mechanisms to clarify issues that have come up in previous submissions. But such bilateral talks would have been private between the parties concerned. In the absence of a routine verification mechanism, a review in a broader forum of the parties with the possibility to raise questions and provide answers would be a welcome tool to increase transparency and clarify issues. I agree with Filippa that it would be important to approach such reviews as cooperative common tasks and avoid that they turn into confrontational exercises.

Then, there is the link between CBM submissions and technical assistance to States parties. The experience of the OPCW action plan on national CWC implementation has shown that formal data submissions and reviews of data compiled by an international secretariat can be arranged in a non-confrontational and cooperative manner when linked to a systematic assistance programme supported by both States Parties and the treaty organisation. A formal CBM review process among BWC States parties could serve a similar purpose if the ISU is given its appropriate role as custodian of CBM submissions, facilitator of the evaluation of the data submitted therein, and clearinghouse for as well as participant in technical assistance missions to help States parties improve their national implementation systems.


Eucharia Kenya / Margaret Muturi - "What influence do (lack of) confidence-building measures have on national implementation of the BWC?" - 24 June 2011 ↓expand↓

The BTWC Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) is the only existing transparent way to create confidence among state actors. The effective use of CBMs can be an important component in making disarmament, and by extension development, sustainable. An increasing body of research illustrates how ineffective disarmament contributes to insecurity and impedes development. A report published by the World Bank in 2000 found that there is a high probability of conflict returning to areas that have recently suffered conflict. Linkages have also been made between those countries or regions that have been inadequately disarmed and the resumption of armed conflict or violence. Therefore finding ways of achieving effective disarmament becomes an important condition for achieving sustainable development – and CBMs play an important role. The expectation is that there is willingness to explain the biological activities in any given country thereby increasing confidence in their peaceful nature and thus reduce suspicion between states. Transparency is very important in this respect. It includes the availability of relevant information in a consistent, accurate and timely manner. However, most states do not submit their CBMs consistently, while significant percentages of states have never submitted at all. Irregular submission creates problems in interpretation of the data submitted and undermines the spirit of transparency. Some of the states who have submitted may not have provided accurate and timely information. The question is how the information would be confirmed. The reason is that information in the CBMs in most of the cases is not made public and therefore, transparency is not achieved.

To improve consistence and participation it is important that member states should agree on deadlines and accept to respect the same. States struggling in completing and submitting the forms should ask for assistance from BTWC. It is important to identify what ‘relevant data’ in regard to CBMs entails. It is also important to agree on dual use technologies and needs to ascertain to which use – peaceful or hostile – these are put. What about the biodefence programs? How can we tell that these programs may not be misused in the future?

The issues arising in the already submitted CBM should be captured in a questionnaire form which should then be distributed to the state parties to fill. This will help in bringing out issues that need discussion and the way forward. The contentious issues should them be discussed and agreed upon. The CBMs should be reviewed to capture what is agreed upon as ‘relevant data’ and also to delete the unnecessary information. These forms should be user friendly and as unambiguous as possible. At this point, each state should be held responsible to its commitment to BTWC. Mechanisms should be put in place to reward those who comply with reporting and some sort of ‘punishment’ to those who do not comply.

The international non-proliferation effort is inseparable from the policies and measures of the countries involved, and the building of the domestic mechanisms in various countries. However, it is necessary to guarantee the rights of all countries, especially the developing nations, to utilize and share dual-use scientific and technological achievements and products for peaceful purposes subject to full compliance with the non-proliferation goal, it is also necessary to prevent any country from engaging in proliferation under the pretext of peaceful utilization. But the question is “where do we draw the line?”


Comments on this discussion are welcome at anna.zmorzynska[at]

    Hamburg Research Group for Biological Arms Control

    The Hamburg Research Group for Biological Arms Control is part of the Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker Centre for Science and Peace Research at the University of Hamburg, Germany. The Hamburg Research Group aims to contribute, through innovative research and outreach activities, to the universal prevention of biological weapons development, production and use. The focus of activities is twofold. Firstly, the Research Group contributes to preventing the erosion of the universal bioweapons prohibition by opposing norm-harming activities. Secondly, it develops new concepts and instruments for monitoring bioweapon relevant activities and for verifying and enforcing compliance with the norm against bioweapons.

    Eucharia Kenya / Margaret Muturi

    Eucharia Kenya is Associate Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, School of Pure and Applied Sciences, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya. Margaret Muturi is Lecturer at the same university and school.

    Filippa Lentzos

    Filippa Lentzos is a Senior Research Fellow at the BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has a long-standing interest in confidence-building measures (CBMs) and has published widely on the subject.

    Ralf Trapp

    Ralf Trapp is an independent consultant in the area of chemical and biological weapons arms control. A chemist and toxicologist by training, he joined the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW in 1993, where he worked in the areas of industry verification, verification policy and review, international cooperation, government relations and political affairs, and strategic planning. After leaving the OPCW, he worked as legal coordinator of the first EU Joint Action in support of the BWC, and he was a member of an audit team that evaluated the results of the EU Instrument for Stability with regard to providing assistance in CBRN risk mitigation. He has been involved in a series of international projects to provide science and technology advice to the CWC as well as the BWC, including projects organised by IUPAC and the Inter-Academy Panel on International Issues.