- Armament and disarmament
- Conflict, peace and security
- Peace and development
JEAN PASCAL ZANDERS, JOHN HART AND FRIDA KUHLAU
II. Biological weapon disarmament
III. Biotechnology, biological defence research and the BTWC
IV. Chemical weapon disarmament
V. Terrorism with mail-delivered anthrax spores
VI. CBW proliferation
In 2001 the USA rejected a draft protocol to strengthen the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and, in the final hours of the Fifth Review Conference of the States Parties to the BTWC, proposed to terminate the negotiating mandate of the ad hoc group which had drafted the protocol. The main US objections were that the protocol would not be an effective verification tool, that it would allow ‘proliferators’ political cover by allowing them to claim to be in compliance with the protocol and that confidential business information belonging to biotechnology firms and information relating to national biodefence facilities would be unnecessarily compromised. The conference was suspended until November 2002 at which time the future of the ad hoc group and its negotiating mandate should become clear.
The major issue facing the OPCW, the body that implements the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, was a budgetary shortfall caused mainly by structural problems in how inspection costs are estimated and reimbursed to the organization. The budgetary problem, however, is a symptom of an underlying lack of agreement on many outstanding implementation issues dating from the organization’s Preparatory Commission, which met in 1993–97. How these issues are dealt with at the First Review Conference of the States Parties to the CWC in 2003 may be critical in determining the future effectiveness and viability of the convention.
The international community should consider whether arms control and disarmament regimes continue to have a useful role in the newly ‘resecuritized’ environment in which military, intelligence and law enforcement activities have been given renewed emphasis. There is a general recognition that, without US participation, the effectiveness and viability of such regimes would be significantly reduced. The specific US concerns regarding each agreement should be addressed through the use of technical and semi-technical analyses with which the political leadership of other countries can engage US political leadership.
Compliance with the BTWC is particularly difficult to verify. This is partly due to the dual-use nature of many of the technologies, materials and equipment that could be used in an offensive BW programme. A key factor in determining whether a programme is offensive or defensive is the need to accurately analyse a party’s intent. The protocol was negotiated as a confidence-building and transparency measure, not as a verification mechanism to determine compliance with a high degree of confidence. As a minimum, the door for negotiating a protocol should not be closed and, therefore, parties should not end the ad hoc group’s mandate.
Substantive preparatory work for the CWC First Review Conference should begin immediately. The quality of this work and the selection of implementation issues, including those contributing to the budgetary difficulties, will be critical to the success of the review conference. Before the conference, treaty implementation issues should be clearly defined and substantive points agreed upon by the parties to the extent possible. A high-level, technically-informed political commitment will be necessary to prevent open-ended discussions on outstanding implementation issues.
John Hart (United States) has been a Researcher on the SIPRI Chemical and Biological Warfare (CBW) Project since 2001. Previously, he worked as an On-Site Inspection Researcher at the London-based Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC) and as a Research Associate at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) Center for Nonproliferation Studies. In 1996–97 he worked as a Research Assistant on the SIPRI CBW Project. He is co-author of the SIPRI Fact Sheets ‘The Chemical Weapons Convention’ (1997) and ‘Biotechnology and the future of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention’ (2001). He co-edited Chemical Weapon Destruction in Russia: Political, Legal and Technical Aspects, SIPRI Chemical & Biological Warfare Studies, no. 17 (1998) and contributed to the SIPRI Yearbooks in 1997 and 1998.
Frida Kuhlau (Sweden) joined the SIPRI Chemical and Biological Warfare Project in 2001. She is co-author of the SIPRI Fact Sheet ‘Biotechnology and the future of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention’ (2001). She assists in the development of the Internet-based educational module on Chemical and Biological Weapon Non-proliferation, a joint project with the Centre for Peace and Security Studies at the Free University of Brussels and the International Relations and Security Network (ISN) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
Dr Jean Pascal Zanders (Belgium) is the Leader of the SIPRI Chemical and Biological Warfare Project and editor of the SIPRI Chemical & Biological Warfare Studies series. He was previously Research Associate at the Centre for Peace and Security Studies at the Free University of Brussels. He has published extensively on chemical and biological weapon issues in English, Dutch and French since 1986 and has edited Chemical Weapons Proliferation (1991, with Eric Remacle) and The 2nd Gulf War and the CBW Threat (1995). He has contributed to the SIPRI Yearbook since 1997 and to the SIPRI volume The Challenge of Old Chemical Munitions and Toxic Armament Wastes (1997). He is co-author of the SIPRI Fact Sheets ‘The Chemical Weapons Convention’ (1997), ‘Iraq: the UNSCOM experience’ (1998) and ‘Biotechnology and the future of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention’ (2001). He is also the principal author of the Internet-based educational module on Chemical and Biological Weapon Non-proliferation. His most recent paper is ‘Challenges to disarmament regimes: the case of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention’, Global Society (2001). He is currently preparing a book on managing dual-use technology transfers in a proliferation environment.