BIOSECURITY, AND BIOWEAPONS
Biosafety, Biosecurity, and Bioweapons: Three Agreements on Biotechnology, Health, and the Environment, and Their Potential Contribution to Biological Weapons Control
Biological weapons risks posed by the development and dissemination of biotechnology are nearly universally recognized. Yet there is presently very little prospect of reining in these risks through the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), whose parties generally recognize the dangers of biotechnology but have been unable to adequately respond.
This booklet introduces and discusses the provisions of three international agreements related to controlling disease and managing biotechnology risks to protect health and the environment:
· the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol (CBP)
· the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and
· the Office International de Epizooties (OIE).
It relates these agreements, which are critical elements of a global biosecurity framework and play a critical role in the international regulation of biotechnology, to the BWC and discusses how they can contribute to the prevention of hostile use of biology.
The CBP and the IPPC and OIE are presently developing and implementing enforceable international rules and standards to contain threats, limit harm, and impose liability for damages resulting from biotechnology. These provide opportunities and synergies to strengthen the global ban on biological weapons.
This paper provides a background and a summary of critical provisions of each of the three agreements, indicating actions that can be taken to address biological weapons risks. It also discusses the need for addressing biosecurity and biosafety in a comprehensive framework, and concludes by discussing the need for a binding international instrument on biocontainment facilities.
Other multilateral activities of relevance to the BWC, for example, the World Health Organization’s global health response to the deliberate use of biological weapons, are also treated.
2 Biosecurity and Biosafety: Two Words, Many Concepts, One Framework
3 The Cartagena Biosafety Protocol of the Convention on Biological Diversity
4 The International Plant Protection Convention
5 Office International Des Epizooties
6 Conclusion: Towards a Binding International Instrument on Biocontainment Facilities