For many years international activity regarding the control of dual use CBW technologies has been channelled through three multilateral treaties agreed between states, the 1925 Geneva Protocol, the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. While treaties remain important, general observations of BBW governance in general indicate that many states are now placing more emphasis on non-treaty based control instruments. This observation also extends to the governance of dual use technologies: activities are increasingly carried out through networks, informal initiatives and on various different levels. Traditional international instruments such as the BWC have been complemented by global measures such as UNSCR 1540 and by plurilateral initiatives such as the Proliferation Security Initiative.
In moving away from a centralized governance model, states seem more willing to engage other government and non government actors .There has, for example, been a significant expansion of governmental agencies involved: ministries of the interior, transport, health, trade, science and finance now join traditional government actors (ministries of foreign affairs and defence) in the governance of dual use technologies. And nationally, new bodies, made up of stakeholder groups, have been created to assist in the implementation of governance strategies.
This project examined the involvement of three types of non traditional security actors in activities which govern dual use technologies: international organizations, private industry and civil society.
A number of international organizations have begun new initiatives to govern dual use CBW technologies and developed significant collaborative networks. Although states exert a very strong influence on their activities, international organizations also develop new policy ideas and programmes. The OPCW for example has pioneered a new approach to promoting CWC universality and national implementation, involving itself in domestic issues which international organizations had traditionally left to state discretion.
The CBW field offers two quite different examples of industrial action. The chemical industry was enrolled by states and NGOs during the negotiations for the treaty. Working alongside governments to find solutions to technical issues associated with governance of dual use technologies, the chemical industry was an active player in the negotiations of the CWC. This positive example of industrial participation has continued since entry into force with states recognising that the continued support and co-operation of industry is vital to ensuring future success of the CWC.
The role of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries in the BWC framework is less positive. Enrolled when states began negotiation of a compliance-verification protocol, industry representatives objected on technical grounds to some of the governance activities being proposed. Although it alone was not to blame for the collapse of the in 2001, biotech and pharmaceutical companies are only now beginning to re-engage with the dual use governance activities inside the BWC framework.
Civil society has always had influence in framing the CBW problem however it has been permitted only a marginal role in relation to CBW governance activities. This is beginning to change although the extent of civil society involvement is still very limited.
NGOs which are involved in the CBW problem are primarily academic and technical rather than grass-roots movements with the power of mass mobilization. Mimicking developments in other areas of international politics, some established NGOs have taken on the role of service providers for governments and international organisations which lack time and resources.