Since the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) opened for signature in 1972, biology and other converging disciplines have advanced considerably. These changes could have profound implications for a science-based disarmament agreement like the BWC. To address changes in biology and biotechnology, BWC States Parties have established processes to review developments in science and technology (S&T), including annual expert meetings on this topic. However, shortcomings are evident in the current approaches and many BWC States Parties have expressed support for a more systematic review of science and technology under the Convention.
This study seeks to inform discussions on establishing a dedicated and systematic S&T review process under the BWC through an examination of existing S&T review-type mechanisms employed in different regimes beyond the BWC, a survey of States Parties views on a possible review mechanism and a study of past and present discourse on this issue in the BWC. Based on the analysis conducted, this study also presents options for BWC States Parties to consider ahead of the Ninth BWC Review Conference.
J. Revill, A. Anand and G. Persi Paoli, Exploring Science and Technology Review Mechanisms Under the Biological Weapons Convention, Geneva, Switzerland: UNIDIR, 2021, https://doi.org/10.37559/SECTEC/2021/SandTreviews/01