A three-year project funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to investigate the process of S&T reviews within the BWC context and assess alternative proposals and options to improve this process.
Biosecurity and the Governance of Emerging Technology: The Role of Science and Technology Reviews within the Biological Weapons Convention
The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) prohibits the acquisition or retention of biological weapons. In order to assure the purposes of the Convention are being realised, it has become an established practice for States Parties to meet every five years to review the operation of the BWC, taking into account any relevant new scientific and technological developments.
Since 1972, changes in science and technology, combined with a transformation in perceptions of security and risk, have generated questions over the extent to which the current process of reviewing developments in science and technology is fit for purpose.
To examine this issue, the Harvard Sussex Program on Chemical and Biological Weapons is leading a project designed to investigate the process of Science and Technology (S&T) Review within the BWC. The project seeks to understand what process is currently employed by States Parties to review S&T developments of relevance to the Convention and examines proposals and other options for improving this process, taking into consideration their technical and political feasibility in the multilateral context of the BWC. Four key questions have been identified to achieve this objective:
1. How are new scientific and technological developments of relevance to the BWC currently taken into account in the process of reviewing the operation of the Convention?
2. Does this process fulfil the requirement of assuring the purposes of the Convention are being realised?
3. What proposals and other options are available to review scientific and technological developments of relevance to the Convention?
4. Which of these proposals or other options, if any, could feasibly be employed to improve the process by which new scientific and technological developments are taken into account in the review of the operation of the Convention?
People involved in the project
The project team is Caitriona McLeish (PI) Paul Nightingale (co-I), Kai Ilchmann and James Revill.
To find out more about the project, and for project results, please visit http://hsp.sussex.ac.uk/sandtreviews/‹‹ Back