The BWC Intersessional Process
towards the Sixth Review Conference and Beyond
Pugwash Workshop Study Group on the Implementation of the CBW Conventions,
Geneva, Switzerland, 8-9 November 2003
List of papers
by Scott Spence, HSP Hague Researcher
This was the tenth of the current Pugwash workshop series on chemical
and biological warfare (CBW) to be held in Geneva. It was convened
jointly with the Harvard Sussex Program on CBW Armament and Arms
Limitation (HSP) and hosted by the Swiss Pugwash Group. The meetings
were held on the campus of the Graduate Institute of International
attended the workshop, by invitation and in their personal capacities,
from 16 countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, Ireland,
Israel, Italy, New Zealand, South Korea, the Russian Federation,
South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United
States). This report does not necessarily reflect a consensus of
the workshop as a whole, or of the Study Group.
The focus of
the workshop was the BWC Intersessional Process and, in particular,
the First Meeting of States Parties in November 2003 and the Second
and Third Meetings of Experts and of States Parties in 2004 and
2005. The workshop also looked ahead to the Sixth Review Conference
in 2006 and beyond.
opened with a welcome by Professor Jean-Pierre Stroot, President
of the Board of the Geneva International Peace Research Institute
(GIPRI) and former Director of Research, IISN, Belgium. Professor
Stroot recently took over the Pugwash Geneva office.
to the various reports on developments outside the Convention on
the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of
Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction
(the BWC) during the previous year, the main items for discussion
by the workshop under the rubric of the BWC Intersessional Process
included: national measures to implement the BWC prohibitions, national
measures for security and oversight of pathogenic microorganisms
and toxins, enhancing international capabilities to respond to alleged
use or suspicious outbreaks, strengthening national and international
efforts for surveillance and combating infectious diseases, codes
of conduct for scientists, and the Sixth Review Conference and beyond.
Participants also addressed themselves to emerging challenges to
the CBW Conventions.
The Chemical Weapons Convention: Progress in Implementation
There was a discussion of the activities associated with the First
Review Conference (the FRC) of the Chemical Weapons Convention (the
CWC), which took place in The Hague, from 28 April through 9 May
2003. Preparations began for the FRC in September 2001 with the
establishment of an open-ended Working Group for the Preparation
of the Review Conference (the WGRC). The WGRC met approximately
twenty times between September 2001 and the beginning of the FRC.
Between twenty to thirty States Parties and the Technical Secretariat
were very actively involved with this work. Simultaneously, there
were national reviews in capitals which led to the production of
working papers. There were also reviews of various aspects of the
CWC undertaken by the Scientific Advisory Board and workshops sponsored
by IUPAC, NATO, and Pugwash.
It was noted
that there were several distractions which occupied some of the
time that might have been devoted to preparing for the FRC, including
replacement of the Director-General, the OPCW financial crisis and
budgetary issues, terrorism post-11 September, and the preparations
by States Parties for the reconvened BWC Review Conference. By the
time the formal session commenced, preparations for the FRC were
not as far along as had been hoped. Several participants commented
that most documents, including the Director-General's report, various
background reports, and other documents, were only made available
10-15 days before the start of the formal FRC session, which meant
that there was little time for review of these documents in capitals.
It was observed
that the FRC officially opened with general debate the morning of
28 April. Several national statements were made and one, in particular,
contained an accusation of non-compliance by another State Party.
The focus of the FRC then turned to drafting. Two major documents
were produced: a political declaration with 23 paragraphs and general
language; and a larger review document containing 134 paragraphs
and more specific, required actions. The review document was described
as a roadmap for the progress of the CWC for the next five years,
that is, until the next Review Conference.
discussed the Open Forum in very positive terms. It was suggested
by one participant that this gathering of non-governmental organisations,
international organisations and other bodies was the only opportunity
for actual review of the elements of the Convention during the formal
two-week session of the FRC.
then discussed the major elements considered during the FRC. Universality
of the CWC was recognised as a concern, especially in respect of
those States in the Middle East that have yet to join the CWC. National
implementation legislation was observed to be an area of serious
concern, especially because only a quarter of States Parties had
comprehensive implementing legislation as of the FRC. Industry issues
and verification were noted to be going well despite unresolved
issues dating back to the Preparatory Commission. The key roles
of 'other chemical production facilities' and 'discrete organic
chemicals' were also discussed and it was noted that these elements
were an important part of the Article VI regime, particularly because
of the changing nature of the chemical industry, including changing
production technologies. International cooperation and free trade
in chemicals were discussed, including what appears to be the decreased
divisiveness of national export controls. Although non-lethal weapons
were a major issue during the Open Forum discussion and were mentioned
in informal discussions at the FRC, non-lethal weapons were not
a feature in the documents emerging from the Conference. Finally,
other issues that were considered included the functioning of the
OPCW, chemical weapons destruction, consultations and fact-finding,
protection and assistance, and terrorism.
expressed interest in how the FRC dealt with non-lethal weapons,
and whether non-lethal weapons would be discussed before the next
Review Conference by the Conference of the States Parties. One participant
suggested that there will be upcoming national papers on non-lethal
weapons, and suggested that NGOs could play a role in this process
and put pressure on the OPCW to act. Participants also queried as
to efforts being made in national legislation implementation. A
description of the new legal module on the OPCW public website,
including a new online national legislation implementation 'kit',
was also provided.
It was observed
in conclusion that there was a sense of relief that the FRC finished
on time, that it took place in an environment of goodwill, and that
there were agreed FRC documents. There remained a question, in some
participants' minds, however, as to whether the Convention was properly
reviewed, particularly regarding Articles VI and XI and non-lethal
weapons. It was suggested that the Review Document would provide
a useful roadmap, but only if States Parties demonstrated sufficient
Weapons Convention: Outcome of the Meeting of Experts, August 2003
A report was
given on the BWC Meeting of Experts (the Meeting), which took place
in August. A large number of experts were said to have participated
in this meeting to discuss the 'new process' and 66 working papers
were distributed. The report from the Meeting (the Report) was said
to contain two parts, including a procedural report (Part I) and
a part containing an attachment with "statements, presentations
and contributions made available to the Chairman by the States Parties"
(Part II). It was observed, however, that the Report is not easy
to analyse because, for instance, Annex II does not show how "statements,
presentations and contributions fit into the agreed detailed programme
of work" for the BWC. It was added that this would make States Parties'
work during the November Meeting of States Parties particularly
It was observed
that some States made comments about the BWC at the annual UN General
Assembly First Committee meeting in October in New York, in the
context of their national general statements and Explanations of
Vote (EOV) on the BWC Resolution. The United States said that it
had led efforts to use alternative methods of implementing the BWC
and that it looks forward to the November meeting. The European
Union stated that it would like to see an agreement on legislation
implementation and that a legislation package should be put into
place. South Africa added that it was disappointed that States Parties
could not complete work on legislation implementation and that a
multilateral approach using legal measures would surpass ad hoc
or non-binding measures. Ambassador Tóth of Hungary had introduced
a draft resolution on the BWC regarding the new process and the
operative paragraph of the BWC regarding its implementation was
paragraph 3 (OP3) of the BWC First Committee Resolution put forward
by Hungary, which was adopted by consensus, New Zealand and Canada
issued a joint EOV. This EOV, offered specifically with a view to
the August Expert Meeting, noted that "agreement reached at the
Fifth Review Conference stated that States parties would "discuss
and promote common understanding and effective action on two topics"
- the topics for this year being national implementation of the
BWC and security and oversight of pathogenic microorganisms and
toxins. In other words, the task is not only for States Parties
to participate in its implementation as set out in OP3, but also
to "promote common understandings and effective action". That requires
some stated outcome, either by the Chair or otherwise for the information
of States Parties. The fact that OP3 does not quote the mandate
in its entirety does not diminish the task lying ahead of States
Parties at the upcoming Meeting of States parties in November."
emphasised the importance of national legislation implementation.
Several participants noted that implementation under the CWC in
particular was a disgrace, even though it is a legal obligation.
It was queried whether implementation of the BWC would be any more
successful under the 'new process', especially because such implementation
was not a legal obligation under the BWC. In response, it was noted
that chemical and biological weapons proliferation are different
matters and that States with a biotechnology infrastructure usually
have appropriate legislation in place.
Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) outlined its activities following-on
from a new public appeal on Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity
launched in Montreux on 25 September 2002. The appeal calls on all
political and military authorities to strengthen their commitment
to the international humanitarian law norms prohibiting the hostile
uses of biological agents and to work together to subject potentially
dangerous biotechnology to effective controls. Moreover, it calls
on the scientific and medical communities, industry and civil society
in general to ensure that potentially dangerous biological knowledge
and agents be subject to effective controls.
It was noted
that there are two tracks to ICRC activities stemming from the appeal.
Track One is a "political track". It includes a proposed ministerial
declaration, which is in the process of being discussed with States.
It was observed that reaction to the prospect of such a declaration,
designed to build political momentum to take specific, practical
action to minimize the risk of poisoning and deliberate spreading
of disease had been largely positive. Additionally, every four years
the ICRC, Red Cross and Geneva Convention parties hold a conference
in Geneva. It was stated that, at the upcoming 28th International
Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, there would
be a particular emphasis on the appeal, including a section in the
Conference's agreed Agenda for Humanitarian Action. In the margins
of the conference there would be a workshop on Biotechnology, Weapons
and Humanity sponsored by the Canadian and Norwegian governments
and their respective Red Cross Societies.
As part of its
"bottom-up" Track Two activities with non-governmental stakeholders
in the life sciences, it was stated that the ICRC has been undertaking
bilateral discussions with representatives from industry, science,
academia and medicine. These have been designed to encourage stakeholders
to think about their legal and ethical responsibilities and to move
themselves to close any existing loopholes, rather than the ICRC
prescribing what should be done to address the dangers of misuse
A number of
other activities being undertaken as part of Track Two were noted,
including the development of an electronic working group to develop
principles of practice, various publications about the appeal to
promote awareness amongst target audiences, and creation of an educational
module aimed at tertiary educational institutions because of the
low understanding of the CBW Conventions at that level. It was observed
that there appears to be a generational divide in some cases in
terms of attitudes toward the CBW norms. Younger people in the life
sciences seem to tend to take the attitude that "I need to know
about these norms", whereas many of their older colleagues are more
of the view that "I should have known about these much earlier".
Accordingly, education is a significant component of the appeal.
The goal is to create a web of prevention at the individual and
collective levels based on principles of individual as well as collective
risk assessment, designed to minimize risk of diversion of advances
in the life sciences for hostile purposes.
raised the issue of the ICRC's speaking rights at multilateral meetings
relevant to CBW. Whereas representatives of the ICRC had been allowed
to speak at the Fourth and Fifth BWC Review Conferences, it had
been denied the opportunity to make statements at the CWC First
Review Conference and at the BWC Meeting of the Experts in August.
Some participants wondered whether the ICRC would be allowed to
speak at the November Meeting of BWC States Parties. It was suggested
that the ICRC is not being allowed to speak because the Conventions
have not been successful and, accordingly, States Parties would
rather address problems associated with the Conventions in private
and subject to the least possible public scrutiny. It was the view
of many participants that this was an invidious situation, and should
be prevented from occurring again if possible. Another participant
noted that this problem is not unique to the ICRC: the OPCW and
WHO were not invited to speak at the plenary Meeting of the Experts
in August, nor were they able to participate in that Meeting in
It was the view
of at least one participant that the ICRC would not be doing its
job properly if there were not points of disagreement between it
and certain States from time to time, especially vis-à-vis military
powers. It was observed that the ICRC's focus on so-called "non-lethal"
weapons (a term one participant noted is misleading because there
are no pharmaceutical agents at present that can incapacitate without
lethality) is particularly sensitive for some governments. But it
was noted that there is a presumption that in a few years the rapid
increase in understanding of the receptors in the body's central
nervous system could lead to an increase in non-lethal chemical
agents. Accordingly, their use as weapons may become more attractive
and pose a serious threat to both the Biological and the Chemical
asked whether the ICRC would be in a position to help victims of
a biological weapons attack. This led to some discussion, in which
it was noted that it would likely be difficult in the days and weeks
following such an attack before it would be possible to ascertain
whether an unusual outbreak of disease was natural or deliberate.
It was recognised that such a scenario would put the ICRC and other
humanitarian agencies in a difficult quandary in terms of the safety
of their personnel and the measures necessary to tackle the humanitarian
impacts of such an event. It was also noted that security and safety
were the primary responsibilities of governments and that the ICRC
could only be reasonably expected to come in when there was some
level of security for its people. The situation in Iraq was mentioned
as one prominent example.
Commission History Project
A report was
given on the OPCW Preparatory Commission History Project which has
the objective of looking at how the OPCW Preparatory Commission
(PrepCom) process unfolded from its very start to the establishment
of the Organisation. The project includes creating an archive of
PrepCom material, including interviews with former PTS staff, Member
State negotiators, etc., which will be stored at SPRU-Science and
Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex, UK (the home of
Harvard Sussex Program archives). The material will then be analysed
so that lessons may be drawn from it and papers prepared for learned
journals. A book is also planned. In order to begin creating an
archive, the project is being publicised (for instance, through
articles in the March 2003 Bulletin produced by HSP and in the OPCW's
in-house journal Chemical Disarmament) and appropriate people to
interview are being identified. The OPCW Director-General has offered
the support of the Organisation to the project. Initially, the Media
and Public Affairs Branch is publishing quarterly updates in Chemical
Disarmament. The project team has been given access to the OPCW's
PrepCom archives. HSP has played a helpful role in getting the project
started and has underwritten its work thus far. However, additional
funding is now being sought. The team expressed their gratitude
to the Governments of The Netherlands and the United Kingdom for
their financial contributions.
It was stated
that the project will open with two areas of research in order to
get a grasp of the PrepCom process and the issues related thereto.
The first area will be an examination of how the PrepCom came to
be convened with specific tasks set before it. The issues that will
be looked at under this rubric will include the CWC drafting process
including papers from delegations describing what the Organisation
should look like; the role of the group under Australian leadership
that prepared the Proposals for a first budget; the role of the
1992 UN General Assembly resolution which commended the Convention
for signature; and the decision of the Signatory States at the signing
ceremony in January 1993, which became known as the Paris resolution.
It was stated
that the second area to be addressed would be how The Hague became
the seat of the OPCW. Issues to be taken up include the Dutch government's
efforts at locating the OPCW in The Hague and the unsuccessful efforts
by Vienna and Geneva. The project will also address the role of
the OPCW Foundation in establishing the logistic base for the PrepCom.
It was added that the Dutch government has agreed to review its
files regarding the PrepCom stage of the OPCW and has appointed
an official liaison for project researchers.
It was stated
in conclusion that more money will be necessary and that the project
must move quickly. In other words, emphasis was placed on the need
to complete the project within three years or potential witnesses
may be lost. It was added that some key players, sadly, have already
A report was
given on the latest measures taken with regard to a draft convention
which would hold individuals responsible for violations of the Chemical
and Biological Weapons Conventions. It was noted that consultations
have been held within the structures of the European Community and
within a context that has been changing since 11 September and the
recent Iraq war. Further to this, it was noted that the Netherlands
had introduced the draft convention in the EU Council's Public International
Law Committee for review in capitals. It was stated that there have
also been lateral consultations and constructive contact with such
organisations as the International Criminal Court and its chief
prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. In short, there is now movement
from discussions of the draft convention in the academic world to
the world of public affairs.
raised the question of whether the principles in the draft convention
could be grafted onto existing instruments. In response, it was
stated that the draft convention would create a uniform basis for
jurisdiction whereas a state-by-state approach might not work as
well. It was added that this draft convention is based on seven
model treaties which establish universal jurisdiction, including
treaties on torture and aircraft sabotage and hijacking.
also raised the question of whether there would be a need for implementation
of the draft convention in individual countries and how internal
law would relate to the Convention. In response, it was stated that
the convention would obligate States Parties to define certain crimes
in the convention in their internal law and to have jurisdiction
over such crimes even if they were not committed in their territory
or by one of their nationals. Whether States would require statutory
implementation would depend on each State's constitutional regime.
It was stated
in conclusion that bio-terrorism may give impetus to the draft convention
because, without it, there may not be jurisdiction to prosecute
violations of the BWC in the absence of a territorial or nationality
THE BWC INTERSESSIONAL
of States Parties, 10-14 November 2003
A report was
given on how the intersessional process between the 5th and 6th
BWC Review Conferences, including the Meeting of States Parties
in November 2003, might feed into the 6th Review Conference which
should itself build upon previous efforts. It was stated that the
report from the August meeting was difficult to analyse and that
despite the emergence of common understandings among States Parties
with regard to national implementation and to security and oversight
of pathogenic microorganisms and toxins, it is difficult to lift
these understandings out of that report. Accordingly, a set of suggested
language was provided for use at the November Meeting of States
Parties in light of the recognition that there will not be enough
time at the meeting for drafting.
It was stated
that all State Parties must review their national implementing legislation
and security and oversight of pathogenic microorganisms and toxins
measures in light of other States Parties' measures between now
and the 6th Review Conference. National developments in such legislation
and measures could be reported under the existing confidence-building
measures, thereby serving as a start to building up a body of information
for the 6th Review Conference.
measures to implement the BWC prohibitions
Under the same
report and with regard to national measures to implement the BWC
prohibitions, attention was drawn to paragraph 1 of the suggested
language for the November meeting outcome which picks up prohibition
and prevention under the BWC. The ultimate goal of the November
meeting was stated as being a contribution to the "recovery and
strengthening of the BTWC through a return to the cumulative development
of extended understandings leading to effective action at the Sixth
Review Conference". In short, emphasis was placed on the need to
make good use of the proposed outcome to the November meeting. It
was added that States should compare their experiences in implementing
the BWC, reinforce State Party actions under Article IV, and report
the outcome in the existing confidence-building measures.
was given on the status of national legislation implementation of
the BWC. It was first noted that a survey had been done on implementation
of Article I prohibitions in order to raise awareness of the need
to implement the BWC prohibitions, to bring attention to the status
of such implementation, and to identify good statutory models. Some
States Parties did not provide any information while others only
provided a little. Some States Parties indicated that they were
drafting legislation while other States' legislation was not available.
Several other issues were identified. For instance, 24 States Parties
had provisions for extraterritorial application of the BWC's prohibitions
and universal jurisdiction. On the other hand, many States Parties
were not aware of their treaty obligations at all. Wide variation
in State Parties' penal legislation was also identified, for instance,
some States have effective enforcement of the BWC whereas others
rely on related legislation.
were proposed, including creation of a 'toolbox' much like the online
national legislation implementation 'kit' created at the OPCW. It
was added that most of the necessary measures are relatively simple
to implement and, in some cases, can be added to existing measures.
It was stated that States must now move forward bilaterally and
regionally and that, ideally, there should be an international focal
point for implementation of the BWC, such as an OPBW. It was observed
that there had hitherto been little support for such an organisation.
Other alternatives were suggested including an informal international
clearing house for discussion and dissemination of information or
a national legislation implementation support unit.
observed that the analysis in this report was necessary and useful.
In response, it was stated that more analysis needs to be done but
that it can be difficult tracking down information from States Parties.
It was also observed that Spanish and French legislation models
need to be prepared. Other participants queried why States were
having difficulties with their implementing legislation. In response,
it was noted that some States are reviewing their legislation to
see what they already have in place and other States have limited
personnel devoted to BWC implementation. It was added that some
States do not have proper penal legislation in place or they include
BWC prohibitions under their firearms control statutes. Finally,
one participant noted that Canada now has a national authority to
oversee the actual functioning of the BWC.
measures for security and oversight of pathogenic microorganisms
A report was
given on how two agencies in the United States-the US Department
of Agriculture (the USDA) and the Department of Health and Human
Services (the DHHS)-regulate select agents. It was noted that both
agencies have issued new regulations further to laws enacted to
secure pathogenic organisms against misuse. The DHHS regulates human
and overlap pathogens, under the auspices of the Center for Disease
Control (the CDC), whereas the USDA regulates plant, livestock and
overlap pathogens through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection
It was observed
that both sets of regulations require detailed registration of entities
that possess, use or transfer regulated pathogens and, in the case
of APHIS, registration of individuals as well. Both sets of regulations
require safety plans and prescribe the requirements to be followed
in the transfer of agents. It was argued that some differences lie,
inter alia, in what is excluded from each of the four agent groups.
For instance, the USDA has exclusions for "non-viable select agents
or non-functional toxins" and genetic elements not capable of causing
disease, whereas the DHHS only excludes the former. There are also
differences in the two agencies' record-keeping requirements and
provisions for reporting theft, losses and release. It was stated
in conclusion that the regulations were rapidly written and have
different wording for similar results, except for some areas such
as genetic engineering activity.
It was queried
whether the US model would be useful elsewhere. One participant
responded that the United Kingdom and several Eastern European countries
also have useful regulations that could serve as models. Participants
raised the questions of whether the regulatory process was becoming
unnecessarily complex and was based on a false threat scenario versus
being based on the likelihood of harm and prevention of such harm.
It was queried whether there was a way to have risk models without
elaborate definitions to which one participant responded that the
general purpose criterion in two US laws does just this. Participants
also raised the question of whether the information collected under
the US regulations was secure; they were assured that it is.
There was some
concern about the impact these regulations are having. It was observed
that, in addition to changes in the export control regime for agents
and restrictions on who can work with such agents, biologists who
ignore or neglect to properly follow the new regulations do so at
their own peril. One participant responded that the lists of toxins
and genetic agents to which access is restricted are short and that
plenty of research is still taking place.
with the regulations were raised including their impact on the international
surveillance of diseases such as, for instance, SARS. It was observed
that each country has different threats, priorities and diseases
and, therefore, it would be constraining for each country to control
certain diseases. It was added that what may be an unusual disease
in one country may be quite common in another.
the impact of the regulations on legitimate research were raised.
It was observed that regulators are faced with the choice of preventing
misuse which will have an impact on some legitimate research or
not having a system in place which, though having less or no impact
on legitimate research, would not prevent misuse of biological agents
and toxins. It was suggested that the US is on the side of overreaction
with regulations based on a misappreciation of the threat from biological
agents and toxins. The key is to get a maximum security benefit
while doing the least amount of harm to legitimate research. For
instance, with respect to the US regulations, the first iteration
of the human select agent list would have been mostly sufficient
to prevent their misuse.
was given concerning biosafety and biosecurity. It was stated that
a key issue here is distinguishing between the two, which would
be difficult because of the terms' different meanings in different
countries. In some countries the same word was used for both 'biosafety'
and for 'biosecurity'. It was added that it is necessary to create
a unified framework of biosecurity and biosafety, which would include
practical measures for both. At a practical level, there would be
overlap between the two, that is, controlling potentially dangerous
organisms contains elements of biosecurity and biosafety. Organisationally,
the same authorities and government entities would implement biosecurity
It was noted
that the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (the FAO) along with
other international organisations was creating a framework for biosecurity
and biosafety which clearly defines these terms, but that it lacked
a disarmament element which the BWC could provide. It was added
that the FAO's strategy is to identify mutual interests in these
areas without raising red flags. It was also observed that the Cartagena
Biosafety Protocol was an excellent window of opportunity for facilitating
implementation of the BWC, especially through its capacity-building
queried what the impact was of the United States not having ratified
the Convention on Biological Diversity or the Cartagena Biosafety
Protocol. In response, it was stated that the US remains an important
and constructive player in the areas of biosafety and biosecurity.
of Experts and of States Parties, 2004
international capabilities to respond to alleged use or suspicious
A report was
given on the role of science in responding to alleged use of biological
weapons or suspicious outbreaks. It was observed, for instance,
that in the investigation of alleged biological weapons use during
the Korean War, the scenario was not ideal because of the war and
the secrecy associated with the investigation. In the Yellow Rain
case, on the other hand, the science was very good but it required
an enormous investment of time and research. It was observed that,
nevertheless, there is a role for the independent scientist in these
matters. Working under the assumption that there will be such instances
in future, there could be a disinterested group of scientists that
does field trials, reviews its methodology and is ready for, not
reactive towards, an investigation. It was noted that UNSCOM and
UNMOVIC, for example, could serve as possible models despite the
problems associated with having team members from many different
nationalities whose nations may have different agendas.
observed that there would have to be three levels of credibility
for the independent investigator model to work: political, scientific
and forensic credibility. It was added that political credibility
means the outside observer would have little reason to impugn the
science, whereas forensic credibility suggests that evidence would
have to be collected in such a way that it could stand up to challenges.
It was noted that in the Korean War investigation scientific credibility
had been high but political credibility was not. In response, it
was stated that credibility issues will always be raised.
also queried as to where such an investigatory body would be located;
the response was that this remained an open issue. The issue was
also raised of whether verification might lead to identification
of State involvement to which it was stated that this was probable.
was given on moving beyond treaty regimes for controlling biological
weapons. It was observed that there is little chance of an investigation
occurring under the BWC but that there is already an inspectorate
with biological weapons expertise. The UN inspections in Iraq were
performed by teams with field experience and little political baggage
but they were withdrawn before they finished only to be replaced
with US groups. It was argued that, nevertheless, Security Council
sanctions against Iraq and the UN inspections had been effective
because nothing has yet been found by the US. It was added that
UNMOVIC risks deteriorating because of attrition and loss, even
though they have a corps of trained inspectors, methods and means
of training, and a modus operandi. It was stated that it is, therefore,
important to have a permanent body based on the UNMOVIC/UNSCOM model
which could, inter alia, advise the Security Council, maintain a
corps of experts, maintain a database on inspections and techniques
and technologies, and monitor sites of potential concern. Guidelines
for degrees of intrusiveness could also be developed. It was stated
that efforts would have to be coordinated with the OPCW and IAEA
queried what sort of role such an inspection team would have. It
was stated in response that they could investigate an allegation
of an illicit program. The Security Council could also play a role
by suggesting that the State submit itself to an inspection. Other
participants argued that States would generally not accept such
intrusive inspections and that the Iraq case was exceptional. It
was added that nuclear inspections could be performed by IAEA inspectors
and chemical weapons inspections by the OPCW. With regard to biological
weapons, it was observed that the negotiations towards the BWC Protocol
had failed and, thus, in the absence of a BWC organisation a UN
body might be necessary. It was queried whether the Security Council
would authorise investigations by such a body.
also queried whether such a permanent inspections body could fall
under the control of the UN Secretary-General rather than the Security
Council. It was stated in response that the Secretary-General can
only currently authorise investigations when there is alleged use.
Additionally, there is no standing body under the control of the
Secretary-General and, in the past, such investigations have been
"too little, too late". The issue was also raised of whether a State
would have to give permission in order for an inspection to occur
on its territory. It was stated in response that simply having such
an inspection team available could serve as a deterrent. Other participants
raised questions about the following issues: what this group's mandate
would be, especially with regard to the duration of the inspections;
how to maintain a permanent group when there are no investigations
taking place; and the expense involved with maintaining such a permanent
group. It was stated in response that ad hoc groups under the Secretary-General
would lack the extensive training which a permanent group would
have. It was added that such a group's mandate and the duration
of the inspection would depend on the event.
Further to this
subtopic, a few words were said about a new mechanism that could
be developed for verifying compliance with the BWC. It was noted
that it will take into account other models, including UNSCOM and
UNMOVIC. Among the issues that will be examined are why the Article
V mechanism under the BWC is not being used, that is, why States
are refraining from using bilateral discussions or approaching the
Security Council with regard to alleged biological weapons use.
Accordingly, the goal of the mechanism is to create a model that
will ensure compliance with the BWC.
observed that in the event of alleged biological weapons use, an
investigation must work backwards and that it may be difficult to
determine what such an investigation will look like. It was added
that it would also be difficult to present definitive proof of alleged
biological weapons use to the Security Council. In response, it
was stated that investigations have worked backwards by looking
at the strain of agent involved.
There was some
disagreement regarding caring for biological weapons victims and
determining the source of an alleged outbreak. Some participants
observed that victims' medical records may be confidential and that
this could impede investigation efforts. In response, it was noted
that health care personnel must undertake an analysis of the outbreak,
which is an epidemiological matter. It must then be determined whether
the outbreak was deliberate, but it was noted that most health care
personnel would not be able to make this distinction. Another participant
added that this is what happens in the US all the time-a shooting
victim is treated by medical personnel and the source of the attack
becomes a criminal matter. In response, it was noted that there
are differences between shootings and anthrax attacks, for instance,
the lag time might be much greater between sickness and locating
the perpetrator. It was added that in some countries anthrax is
a common disease and it would be more difficult to determine whether
an outbreak was deliberate or not. It was thus proposed that several
political models for addressing an outbreak may be necessary depending
on the jurisdiction in question.
A further comment
was made noting that investigation of outbreaks of disease entails
two steps: minimizing harm and protecting people and then making
a quasi-legal determination as to who is responsible, both of which
can influence the other negatively. An example was given of the
tension between the FBI and those treating the victims of the anthrax
attacks in the US, that is between forensic experts and medical
care providers. It was observed that if these problems are difficult
enough to address at the national level, they will be even more
so internationally because of geopolitical considerations.
national and international efforts for surveillance and combating
A report was
given on the surveillance of unusual cases of infectious disease.
It was stated that it should be possible to carry out such surveillance
through an early-warning monitoring system using alternative methods,
rather than solely relying on official channels. Such alternative
methods could include televised breaking news reports. It was observed
that a reporter can only interview a couple of people at a time,
however. The Internet is another possibility because thousands of
people can submit reports of unusual cases of disease. Examples
were provided of meningitis outbreaks in the Russian Federation
and the SARS outbreak in China being reported by e-mail, despite
official denials of a problem. It was added that, whereas WHO had
to go through official channels in China, information reached others
unofficially using the Internet. It was argued in conclusion that
for government agencies such as the US Department of Homeland Security
to pour millions of dollars into monitoring software is useless
when cell phones (especially text messaging) and Internet reporting
can serve the same function.
queried whether the Internet could be used to spread terror through
false reports, in other words, whether such a system could be abused.
An example was given of the panic that SARS caused. It was argued
that slow, official channels do work and can help prevent panic.
of Experts and of States Parties, 2005
of conduct for scientists
A report was
given on codes of conduct, the final topic to be addressed in 2005
arising out of the Fifth Review Conference of the BWC. It was first
stated that there are a wide range of actors involved in prescribing
codes of conduct for scientists involved in biotechnology: representatives
of NGOs (scientific, professional societies, traditional NGOs, etc.),
industry, commerce and academia.
It was also
stated that such codes should not just extend to biologists and
microbiologists and others involved in the natural sciences, but
to social scientists as well. For example, such codes could apply
to commentators active in arms control who publish articles on biological
It was stated
that there might be secondary benefits to formalizing a code of
conduct without the primary benefit of stopping a biological weapons
project altogether. For instance, such a code could serve as a precedent
for regulating conduct in such a way that does not impinge on the
right to publish and do research. Such a code would also raise awareness
of biological weapons, especially among a traditional set of people
who claim not to be aware of guidelines and norms in respect of
for codes of conduct were mentioned including ones from the ICRC,
the Royal Society of the United Kingdom, and a consortium of NGOs
working on biodefense matters. The ICRC's proposal identified several
elements that should be considered when drafting codes of conduct,
including "technical, legal and public health measures; ethical
responsibility within the scientific community; contentious research;
and education". The ICRC proposal also raised the following considerations,
inter alia, how effective such codes will be if people are motivated
by fear or money to do questionable work in repressive regimes,
whether codes will be mandatory or voluntary, whether there will
be sanctions for non-compliance, and whether they will be enforceable.
It was noted
that the Royal Society's comments on the UK Green Paper focused
on two areas: the possibility of a Scientific Advisory Panel and
codes of conduct for professional bodies. It was observed that the
Royal Society assumes that codes of conduct are desirable at an
international level and that a wide range of activities could be
covered to reinforce such codes, including practical actions such
as penalties for non-compliance and 'whistle-blowing'. The Royal
Society's proposal also identifies two trends for codes of conduct
to be effective: education at the national level and support mechanisms
for researchers to report ethical concerns.
prepared by a consortium of NGOs was discussed. It was observed
that the proposal is detailed because it is targeted to a group
focussed on work possibly pertinent to the BWC. It was also noted
that such a code would improve compliance through direct or primary
awareness-raising for those people working in the grey area of defensive/offensive
The final proposal
that was discussed was prepared by the Australian Society for Microbiology.
Its code is focussed on broader awareness raising and only contains
a single provision prohibiting the production or promotion of biological
warfare agents. It was queried whether this language was sufficient.
Finally, a survey
only applicable to the UK was discussed in which it was observed
that there is an awareness of ethical concerns in the scientific
community and that this has prompted some actions to be taken.
It was stated
in conclusion that there are several points that should be kept
in mind with respect to codes of conduct: first, the development
of such codes should be encouraged; second, they should cover a
wide range of actors; and, third, the development of such codes
should be a consolidated effort involving, inter alia, professional
commentators and societies, and international organisations.
A vigorous debate
on this topic took place among the participants. It was observed
that the report highlights the internationalization of ethics but
it was noted that, when national security is compromised and a scientist
must come to a country's defence, the individual(s) in question
might lower their ethical threshold. It was also observed that in
closed communities it is easier to reinforce the need for questionable
work because it is not challenged from the outside. The need for
education in order to raise awareness was accordingly emphasised.
Another participant added that research into what has motivated
scientists in the past had led to the finding that they could always
find good reasons for the work they were doing. It was added that
educating scientists to behave ethically could be useful but that
the ethical standards of society may be more influential.
to the comments about the need for education, one participant noted
that a State only needs a small number of weapons for a biological
weapons program, accordingly, there must be a place where a scientist
can go to report a problem. Another participant added that codes
of conduct are not enough by themselves, rather there must be a
local review process and follow-up to determine whether certain
questionable activities are acceptable or not. In other words, the
codes need to be put into practical operation. It was also observed
that transparency can play a major role in ensuring that scientists
are acting ethically and that codes should not detract from the
need for research transparency. It was also observed that the need
for transparency could be incorporated into a code of conduct.
noted that there are five issues that need to be addressed in respect
of implementing codes of conduct for scientists. First, there is
the possibility that by 2005 there will be a melange of codes based
on self-interest with no way to sift out those elements that reduce
risk. Second, there is an arrogance in the scientific community
to the effect that scientists do not believe that they need to be
subject to oversight. Third, there is a spectrum of codes, from
voluntary to binding codes, with professional or legal sanctions.
It was added that if scientists do not adopt a voluntary code, a
code may become legally enforceable on them. Fourth, the scope of
applicability of a code must be determined. That is, will the code
in question only apply to scientists or to their employers as well.
Fifth, there must be a triad approach to the implementation of a
code based on principles of practice, registration and education.
was given on the proposed adoption of publishing guidelines in light
of the threat that some publications might aid biological weapons
development. It was stated that the report was based on the belief
that scientific journal editors have adopted a biological weapons
threat model which is in turn based on two assumptions. These assumptions
are that "advances in biology equal enhancements to BW agents and
that increased availability of dual use technologies is increasing
the likelihood of their use". It was added that self-censorship
does not have to be a problem but that it might be here because
it is in response to media and political attention. It was noted
that, in the US for example, a Congressman claimed that a paper
on overcoming genetic resistance to mousepox was a blueprint for
It was stated
that, in modelling a threat, the model builder tries to facilitate
an understanding of a complex and abstract environment and anticipate
harm. Here, that model is based on increased availability of dual
use technologies and increased capability through advances in biology.
It was observed that this model is well-accepted in the political
community and has led to certain actions. This is not a new model,
however, and examples were given of export control arrangements
under the auspices of CoCom, the Wassanaar Arrangement and the Australian
Group, which were established to control the transfer of sensitive
technologies. It was stated that the biological weapons threat model
is third generation but that it is based on the same course of threat
assessment and action.
It was observed
that this model is being adopted by journal editors who may in turn
require scientists to self-censor. It was observed that this would
interfere with scientists' need for information for "critical examination
of the validity of new assumptions". This is to say, adoption of
the model could lead to a crisis of identity for scientists if they
are prohibited in some cases from using the scientific method.
It was noted
that the journal editors in question only met for one day and that,
accordingly, they should examine the threat model more rigorously.
It was suggested that some issues to be addressed in doing so are
as follows: criteria to identify research pieces that exceed an
acceptable level of risk; who will set these criteria; and why this
is being done now.
It was stated
in conclusion that "deconstruction and examination of evidence supporting
a model's embedded assumptions" needs to be undertaken in order
to create a code of conduct, otherwise there could be a crisis of
identity within the scientific community.
stated that the restriction of publications is the wrong level at
which to start, rather it is the process that should be reviewed.
This is to say, there should be a critical review of the types of
experiments that are to be carried out, and the precautionary principle
and an audit of the risks involved should apply thereto. There should
also be a willingness to stop research if need be.
observed that restriction of publications would be approaching the
US model for restricting export of military technology, or that
such restrictions would only highlight certain work. It was added
that, at the very least, there should be clear publication guidelines.
With regard to the media's role, it was noted that there is a relationship
between the media and the threat assessment model but that the relationship
is unclear. In response, it was stated that it has sometimes been
the media's interpretation of matters that causes nervousness in
the wider community. It was added that it remains a problem that
journalists reporting on science matters often lack a science degree.
It was stated
in conclusion that publication is the end side of science and is
based on the assumption that the science that preceded it has been
the Sixth Review Conference and Beyond
A report was
given on a proposal for putting the 2005 anniversary of entry into
force of the BWC to best use. It was observed that there were two
elements driving this proposal. First, the Review Conference in
2006 could be looked at as an opportunity for recovery of the review
process proper. Convergent elements for recovery would include participation
by NGOs, the ICRC, and like-minded States. Another element was a
proposal put to the August Meeting of Experts-"the adoption of necessary,
national measures to implement the prohibitions set forth in the
Convention, including the enactment of penal legislation"- and which
called for States Parties to the BWC to complete the national legislation
implementation process by 26 March 2005.
It was stated
that national implementing legislation under Article IV of the BWC
has been called for in Final Declarations of the Review Conferences
since 1980. It was noted that sharing any adopted legislation through
the UN has also been called for. It was observed that two delegations
at the First Review Conference, in particular, Belgium and the UK,
had even circulated their legislation to other delegations before
ratifying the BWC. It was added that, at this point, there is a
certain level of impatience with the lack of implementation and
that it is clear action is now needed.
that was agreed to in the Final Declaration in 1980 was accession
to the Geneva Protocol. It was observed that 31 out of 151 BWC States
Parties are still not party to the protocol. It was also stated
that there was a definite commitment in 1991 and 1996 to States
Parties withdrawing their remaining reservations on retaliation
if they had not done so. It was noted that, with regard to confidence-building
measures (CBMs), these are a matter also requiring completion even
though they were only agreed by the States Parties at the Second
and Third Review Conferences.
It was observed
that completion of the matters above would have a positive effect
by creating a common platform for States Parties to move forward.
There would be greater confidence that the BWC was being taken seriously
and that there was compliance with Articles I and IV. It was also
observed that the BWC would be in better shape if States Parties
had completed their implementing legislation and shared relevant
texts with the UN, made up to date returns under each CBM and joined
the Geneva Protocol, and withdrawn any remaining reservations, by
26 March 2005.
It was stated
that in order to take matters forward, the following should be done.
First, 26 March 2005 should be made a target date for recovery of
the BWC. Second, there should be targets, including the agreed items
identified in the early 1980s and later, as well as joining the
CWC. The issue of annual declarations under the agreed CBMs should
be used as an important index of the seriousness with which States
treat the Convention. There should also be an overall strategy in
preparation for the Review Conference in 2006 of seeing if States
Parties will have finally committed to what they agreed to. In other
words, there should be consolidation before advancement. This will
also get States Parties into shape for proper review processes and
so that the BWC can be taken forward in 2006.
was stated that the issue of who will organise this drive must be
addressed. It was noted that just as important as who organises
a proposed conference in March 2005 to mark the completion of States
Parties' commitments is to identify the convergent elements, including
governmental, ICRC and NGO elements. It was stated in conclusion
that this would not be a test for the Sixth Review Conference, but
rather for the political effectiveness of the convergent elements
in March 2005 before that review conference.
raised several issues including the importance of not missing yet
another opportunity to move the BWC forward, the possibility of
posting the status of achievement of States Parties' commitments
online (in regional groupings), and the need to get political attention
focussed on these matters.
The poor quality
and return rate of CBMs was also discussed. It was noted that in
many cases it is a technical matter and involves overstretched personnel,
limited resources, the difficulty of completing the CBMs, etc. It
was indicated that, nevertheless, CBMs are important because they
increase transparency, allow States to see what other States are
doing and increase confidence. It was added that if they are not
done, this can lead to suspicions and undermine confidence. It was
noted that CBMs do not have to be difficult and that, for instance,
they can be prepared by a coalition of individuals, each of whom
is responsible for a certain section. Another participant noted
that CBMs can be extremely useful guides, especially because States
really do indicate what they have been up to, and that it is unfortunate
that they are not more widely circulated. It was added that requiring
CBMs to be completed creates a risk for those who do not declare
what they should have and, to that extent, they ensure compliance.
Their preparation also fosters interdepartmental cooperation, which
ventilates any activity prescribed by the BWC.
raised with regard to the UN's ability to handle great quantities
of CBM submissions, to the lack of access by the general public
to CBMs, and to whether submissions of CBMs should be made a mandatory
matter. With regard in particular to the UN, it was queried what
its role could be, that is, whether there should be translation
of the submissions, if verification should follow from the submissions,
and what would happen in the event of inaccuracies. In response,
it was stated that problems with CBMs are not the fault of the UN,
rather the lack of translation and analysis is the fault of States
Parties because they have not established a processing unit. With
regard to public availability of CBMs, it was added that Australia's
CBM declarations are online. In respect of submissions being made
mandatory, it was stated in response that States Parties must be
convinced of the benefits of this. Other issues that were identified
with respect to CBMs were the need for civil society to follow up
on any available CBM reports and for CBM requirements to be explicit.
was given on preparatory assistance and background activities for
the Sixth Review Conference of the BWC. It was indicated that, first
and foremost, the first Meeting of Experts in August under the 'new
process' was a step in the right direction but that its achievements
were limited. It was noted, however, that preparing for 2006 is
a good opportunity to put things back on track.
It was observed
that a 'silver bullet' approach with single treaties is not going
to work, in other words, there needs to be implementation at several
levels including individual, sub-national, national, regional and
international, with the BWC being a part of the solution. It was
added that the three-week session in 2006 for review of the BWC
will require a significant amount of preparatory work for consideration
of all of the issues. Further to this, it was noted that 1991 was
the last time a full review occurred and that at that time there
was a full spectrum of activities, including NGO activities. Accordingly,
NGOs could play an important role in 2006 as well.
It was observed
that the agenda for the 2006 Review Conference should be relatively
uncontroversial. It was added that there would be five others issues
to think about, including scientific and technological developments;
CWC issues vis-à-vis the BWC, including universality; the role of
CBMs, including electronic submissions and procedures for analysis
and clarification; the scope of CBMs, including CBMs under Article
V, X, and miscellaneous CBMs; and the role of the BWC Secretariat.
It was stated
in conclusion that it is clear that, based on past and current activities,
States Parties are not up to the task of preparing for the Sixth
Review Conference on their own and that it will be necessary to
bring other actors into play in a much more forthright way. These
actors will be less willing to accept States Party answers, however.
It was added that NGOs will need to help create a full and proper
review agenda in order to take the BWC review process forward.
There was some
disagreement regarding annual review of the BWC and CWC. A participant
raised the issue of whether there should be an annual review process
for the BWC, including a theme for each year, an agenda set out
for the next four years, and a review of smaller chunks of CBMs.
In response, it was stated that it would be a burden for delegations
to attend conferences for the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons
treaties on an annual basis. Another participant, on the other hand,
stated that it was unfortunate that the CWC and BWC issues had to
be separated-such as national implementing legislation, assistance,
Article X, free trade-because in some countries the same officials
are in charge of both treaties. He noted that for some officials
this would mean one trip to Europe.
also addressed the CBM issue and stated that miscellaneous CBMs,
for instance, can be used to demonstrate transparency. It was added
that what is needed is regular compliance reports or CBMs that are
given by each State Party and which are based on what they need
to say in order to be transparent.
It was stated
that there are several important issues ahead with respect to the
BWC, but that universality should not be pushed aside. It was observed
that this is especially true because there remain regions of concern,
including the Middle East and Central and North Asia, in which there
are countries that have not yet joined the BWC. Accordingly, a robust
approach to this matter was called for. On a related note, it was
observed that some "lead" countries are starting to act.
importance of personality in the review process, including at the
administrative and organisational levels, was discussed.
CHALLENGES TO THE CBW CONVENTIONS
the CBW regime
A general discussion
was held on challenges facing the BWC and CWC regimes. It was noted,
for example, that the CWC regime may be at a 'crisis' point because,
inter alia, there is little Article IX activity and little assistance
under Article X from the OPCW.
one participant stated that he did not understand what appeared
to be resignation about the treaty regimes. He stated that he was
impressed by efforts regarding the use of biological weapons and
biodefense and that, from the discussions, it appeared that there
was no immediate threat of biological weapon use because there was
a focus on long-term issues such as preparing codes of conduct,
getting States to engage in the CBM process, etc. He indicated,
however, that he did not completely agree with this assessment.
For example, he noted that there are misguided scientists and lonely
terrorists who might use biological weapons but added that the responses
to deal with such people have been different, including criminal
prosecution and methods under the auspices of a war on terrorism.
As far as the treaty regimes go, on the other hand, one of their
first objectives is to deal with threats posed by States and with
States preparing for war, which should not be confused with threats
posed by individuals. He added that programs sponsored by States
are more easily identifiable.
observed that the list of States accused of having biological weapons
is stable and that there have been no major additions recently to
this list. It was indicated that it may be time to address this
issue outside of the BWC regime because States may be reluctant
to admit their violations or permit investigations thereof. It was
added that, indeed, similar problems have historically been solved
through trilateral negotiations rather than through Article V of
the Convention, because States have resisted application of the
Convention. In short, it was argued that it might be useful to offer
States solutions that are not related to compliance with the BWC.
also added that a lot has been learned, with regard to verification
inspections and procedures, through UNSCOM and UNMOVIC. A lot has
been learned, for instance, about biological weapons and inspections
have become more intrusive. It was also observed that States appear
more willing now to admit their misbehaviour, especially in the
area of chemical weapons. This willingness, however, may be tied
to verification devices outside of the BWC. UNSCOM and UNMOVIC were
given as examples.
made final comments regarding the credibility of biological weapons
inspections. He noted that inspectors must be trained, have experience,
and be able to assess the results of their inspections. Nevertheless,
some States may say the results are meaningless, which again brings
in the need for movement outside the BWC process.
noted that they appreciated this flexible approach to addressing
issues related to biotechnology and biological weapons and that
talking about these matters needed to move beyond Pugwash to wider
fora. In response, it was stated that there already is movement
outside of the BWC regime, including at the government level in
one country. It was emphasised that there should be renewed focus
on education and perhaps creating a small standing group of inspectors
who can respond to alleged biological weapons use. On a related
note, a participant noted that any future discussions need to throw
out the idea that lethality is a constraint on such discussions
because lethality is a matter of context, not weapon design.
A report was
given on non-lethal weapons and the threat they pose to the CBW
regime. It was observed that it was unlikely that there would be
a massive use of chemical or biological weapons by a State because
there would be enormous consequences for doing so, and such use
would ultimately only strengthen the regimes. It was stated that
one near-term threat, however, included the introduction of disabling
(or 'non-lethal') chemical weapons into the military context. It
was noted that the CWC and the Geneva Protocol could be rewritten
to integrate these weapons but that this would ultimately damage
to riot control agents, it was noted that their use is prohibited
in war and it was queried, therefore, why some States want to introduce
them as a possibility. It was added that chemical weapons use in
World War I, Manchuria, Ethiopia, Yemen, and Iran was preceded by
the use of non-lethal chemical weapons. In Viet Nam, tear gas was
not expected to be used in ordinary military operations but eventually
was, and the reduction of lethality there only applied to friendly
troops, not to non-combatant lives. It was observed that the ICRC
has already stated that non-lethal weapons are not a way to make
war more humane and that their benefit of saving lives is questionable.
It was stated
that the risks associated with the use of non-lethal weapons are
three-fold: battlefield escalation, the "fostering of the growth
and influence of institutions that are dependent upon the development
and weaponization of chemical agents", and loss of confidence in
the CWC regime, including the possibility of cheating and subsequent
verification disputes. It was stated that, therefore, there is only
one clear line to follow: "no poisons in war".
It was noted
in conclusion that we are entering into a period where biology will
be able to influence the life processes including "cognition, development,
reproduction and heredity". Thus, avoiding their use was stated
to be more important than their marginal utility for hostile purposes.
A report was
also given on the consequences of the militarization of biology.
It was first observed that biology has the potential for both good
as well as for misuse. Biology has traditionally looked at agents
but now targets are being looked at to see how they can be affected
by such agents.
It was noted
that great advances are being made in treating mental illness and
that particular attention is being paid to treatment for dementias,
schizophrenia, and mood and anxiety disorders. It is clear, however,
that there is potential for misuse of neuropharmacological substances
for these mental illnesses. For example, they could be used to manipulate
individuals in order to enhance their performance as soldiers or
they could be used to arm soldiers along with the standard range
of lethal weapons. They could also be used by interrogators or torturers.
It was stated that solutions to these dangers include doing nothing
or ending this research. It was concluded that the best approach,
however, would be regulation so as to permit research for peaceful
purposes while maximising global transparency and regulating applications
of the technology.
added that it is important to recognize that hostile use of biology
and chemicals falls under the CBW regime. It was noted, however,
that non-lethal weapons may be developed to the point where they
have a high margin of safety. In response to proponents of these
weapons who say that they are more humane, however, the participant
stated that historically non-lethal weapons have been an adjunct
to the use of lethal weapons.
There was some
disagreement among the participants regarding the previous comments.
In response to the scenarios above, a participant observed that
they assume that targets, for example, terrorists, will not have
defensive capabilities. Further, terrorists may get access to non-lethal
weapons and use them in a way that makes their attacks easier. It
was also stated that the time to address these issues is now because
some States may be testing such non-lethal weapons already with
an eye to military use.
to a comment about the use of 'knockout' chemicals by a soldier,
a participant observed that there is no such thing. Rather, pain
relief takes five to ten minutes and then there is incapacitation,
but not brain 'knockout' per se. This point was made to emphasise
that the disadvantages of non-lethal weapons should be pointed out
and the claimed advantages refuted.
It was stated
by another participant that armed forces are always authorised to
use deadly force in the context of military operations and that
non-lethal weapons also have the potential to be deadly in certain
circumstances. Beyond military applications, it was observed that
terrorists and dictators are not worried about non-lethal weapons,
rather they may simply kill with less sophisticated means.
It was stated
that it was clear that the US did not accept the Geneva Protocol
applying to the use of tear gas and that a causal relationship could
not be established between its use and battlefield escalation. It
was argued that tear gas was used in Viet Nam, for instance, to
save lives and to good effect with lethal weapons, and that in other
contexts, battlefield escalation was due to the actions of one party.
It was stated that the US signature did not mean, however, that
tear gas could be used as a traditional method of warfare and, indeed,
its use is limited to four situations.
It was stated
that, with regard to cheating under the CWC's verification regime,
there is no militarily effective way to use CWs because military
operations are 'move and shoot'. It was added that the same is true
for biological weapons and that it is more likely that terrorists
would use these weapons against civilian targets.
It was observed
that the types of non-lethal weapons available have expanded exponentially,
especially anti-materiel weapons. It was added that there are promising
technologies, including biological agents for intelligence and communication.
The conundrum, however, is a treaty designed to prohibit the use
of deadly biological weapons as weapons of mass destruction against
people, animals and plants despite a category of biological agents
that can be used in other ways. For instance, there are biological
agents that can eat chemical weapons and that are environmentally
safe, less lethal to humans, cause less collateral damage and have
other practical benefits. It was observed that this problem was
not foreseen by the treaty's drafters and that a strict interpretation
of the BWC would not allow States to capitalise on new biotechnologies.
added that the US is faced with criticism from human rights and
environmental groups regarding use of non-lethals. It was argued
that chemical and biological based technologies are the wave of
the future but that the CBW regime prohibits these even if they
are more humane and do less damage.
to these comments, participants observed that anti-materiel weapons
are not illegitimate, even if their use is considered hostile. It
was added that they could be seen as protective if used behind a
front line. Another participant noted that the problem with less
than lethal technology lies in asymmetrical situations. For example,
in Northern Ireland, the use of weapons escalated from rocks to
lethal weapons, because protesters could never win otherwise, and
the authorities responded in kind. In response, it was noted that
these types of situations are difficult because soldiers, if equipped
with lethal and non-lethal weapons, will need to make quick decisions
about which weapons to use in certain scenarios.
argued that society is not prepared to contain the introduction
of non-lethal biological weapons and that, therefore, the line must
be held against them. It was added that such weapons may offer a
humane alternative in some scenarios but that, ultimately, society
will be going down a slippery slope if they are introduced. In response,
it was noted that society has absorbed new weapons systems. It was
pointed out that biological weapons are a different matter, however,
because they assault the essence of what it means to be a human
being. It was stated in conclusion that the point of the CBW regime
is to give up and totally prohibit these weapons, their pros or
cons notwithstanding, and that this may include giving up some benign
A report was
given on the role of the General Purpose Criterion (the GPC) and
how to make it a more useful instrument. It was observed that the
GPC is a future-oriented tool and, accordingly, could take the CBW
regime forward and generate transparency. However, some consider
it to be too abstract and others worry about its impact on industry
and science. It is also viewed by some as a catch-all provision,
such as those for export control policies, as its use is not understood
outside of the CBW regime.
It was argued
that there can be a future role for the GPC for verification under
the BWC. It was observed that such use of the GPC would be based
on a deeper understanding of the concept of 'dual use', looking
at actors other than States, and increased transparency. For instance,
with regard to the concept of 'dual use', it is an intrinsic property
of the technology in question or is an attribute, "whose potential
is realized depending on its context". In other words, its use as
well as its lethality depends on context. Accordingly, the key is
to control purposes, not the technology in question.
It was observed
that, in respect of biology, the set of actors includes researchers,
institutes, consumers, transnational units and States. It was added
that if a whole mechanism for future verification of biology is
based on transparency, then the first step is to create an accreditation
system for economic units with criteria set up by an international
body. The second step would be the creation of national authorities
with the authority to report aggregate data on transfers to the
appropriate international organisation. This organisation would
be tasked with analysing transfer patterns and would have a small
It was indicated
that there would be three possible scenarios for transfer patterns:
between two accredited economic units in which case there would
not need to be an elaborate licensing regime and there would be
clarity of purpose for such transfers. The second scenario would
be transfers in which one unit is not accredited, in which case
national controls would apply with responsibility for non-diversion
falling on the supplier. The third scenario would be where the recipient
country is not a State Party, in which case the most stringent controls
would apply. There could also be emergency transfers to such countries.
It was stated
in conclusion that the regime described above would put Article
X of the BWC into a new light and the GPC would be at the centre
of the model. It was added that there would be benefits to joining
the system, which would be voluntary, and that the system would
match economic interests with security needs and encourage economic
units to be active participants in creating transparency. In theory,
most transfers would not be prohibited. The problems with the system
lie in those actors who act outside of it or in secret defence work,
which would need to be verified under a separate regime.
noted that dual use is not only about context but also about threat
assessment. Accordingly, transfers would not just be context-driven
but threat assessment-driven as well. In response, it was noted
that the accreditation system puts into place, for example, codes
of conduct so that it is clear to outsiders what is happening with
each economic unit. Context and perception of threat are therefore
part of the generation of transparency. It was also indicated that
there would be no denial of legitimate transfers under this system,
which would undercut the denial of access arguments.
were in disagreement over how this system would work in practice.
One participant noted that a large number of economic units is conceivable,
accordingly, an enormous regulatory structure might have to be put
in place. In response, it was stated that a researcher would not
be able to get certain pathogens if he was not accredited. It was
also observed that such a system would undermine twenty years of
Australia group work. Another participant added that the system
appears to provide supply-side remedies to a threat which has not
yet been measured; for instance, the level of intent for misuse
has not been measured. It was also observed that a supply of anything
can be obtained if necessary. Accordingly, a measure of the threat
in question is necessary along with the effect of the supply-side
measures, that is how much of the supply will be cut off for misuse.
In response, a participant indicated that there is such a project
underway. Another participant added that there is an immediate threat
out there. Accordingly, an international team is needed to assess
these threats and a surveillance system is necessary to monitor
was concluded with an expression of thanks to all the participants,
to Swiss Pugwash for hosting the meeting, and to the secretariat.