HSP seeks to instil the traditions, practice and benefits of scholarship into the formation of public policy on issues involving biological and chemical weapons. We do this through university-based research and publication, other forms of international communication, constructive association with people in policy-shaping and policy-making circles, and training of young people.

In addition, we maintain national and international frameworks for discourse, study and consensus-building that bring together scientists and other scholars with officials of governmental and intergovernmental bodies. Motivating HSP is the urgency of concerns raised by biological and chemical weapons as potential instruments of terror, coercion and mass killing, whether in the hands of warring nations or non-state entities. We therefore favour efforts to eliminate these weapons globally and to prevent the hostile exploitation of biotechnology. Consequently HSP supports efforts to maintain and enhance the moral, political and legal constraints and prohibitions against the hostile use of disease.

While other programs direct their efforts towards ameliorating the possible effects of biological or chemical attack should it happen, the emphasis of HSP has been, and remains, maintaining and strengthening the constraints against development and use of the weapons. We believe that in order to be effective, such constraints must be based on a scientifically sound understanding of the potentials and limitations of existing and possible future weapons and the recognition that political and social contexts may either weaken or strengthen the constraints. Resulting policies must be fashioned so far as possible in a genuinely international and co-operative manner; and they must be built on shared interests in domestic and international stability across regional, national and other divides.

All of this demands clear and careful thought, well founded in historical experience and sensitive to technological and political change. This is what HSP seeks to promote.

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