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Related commentary:

The forgotten science of cooperative threat reduction

The announcement that Russia had completed the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile was rightly applauded as a milestone in multilateral arms control. However, it was also a reminder of the significant part that international non-proliferation and disarmament assistance played in facilitating the implementation of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

The G20 Summit and chemical weapons in Syria

The G20 Summit will be held in Hamburg on 7–8 July 2017. The UN Security Council and OPCW member states remain unable to agree Syrian Government responsibility for any of the continued instances of chemical warfare.

Riot control agents: improve knowledge to improve safety

A number of recent incidents have reinforced renewed concern regarding states' use of so-called riot control agents (RCAs)particularly tear gases and pepper sprayagainst civilians. The legitimacy of RCAs as a means to maintain and restore public order is based on two assumptions: first, that they do no long-term harm to their targets, and second, that they are used responsibly and appropriately.

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention—approaching a mid-life crisis?

The 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) is one of the most widely ratified multilateral treaties concerning armed conflict since the Geneva Conventions. Its core principle has not been challenged: no country argues that the use of biological weapons is legitimate. Nevertheless, advances in science and technology are changing the very nature of ‘biological agents’ and the ways in which they can be produced and manipulated. As the BTWC approaches 40, is it still up to its primary task of preventing biological warfare?