Managing the biological weapons problem: from the individual to the international

Littlewood, Jez (2004) Managing the biological weapons problem: from the individual to the international. Stockholm, Sweden, Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, 18pp.


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1. The problem posed by biological weapons is very complex. It encompasses
attempts to ensure biological disarmament under the BWC has real meaning, the
prohibition on use of biological weapons in the Geneva Protocol remains the
international norm, and that the proliferation of capabilities is not transformed
into actual weapons. There are no easy solutions to the biological weapons issue.
2. Any attempt to model solutions to the biological weapons problem based
only on international treaties and agreements will fail. This is not an issue which
can be resolved by a treaty on its own.
3. If the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission seeks to identify realistic
proposals to reduce the dangers posed by biological weapons in the short to long
term it will have to advocate a break with past policies. Efforts such as those
enshrined in the negotiations on the BWC Protocol (1995-2001) are no longer
4. The issue is not biological weapons and states: the issue is the biological
weapons problem itself, which encompasses states, non-state actors, and
individuals. Efforts at control must address each of those discrete areas of
concern through a variety of measures.
5. Any effort to ameliorate the problems posed by biological weapons requires
six components: (1) a real understanding of the problem such weapons pose;
(2) a willingness to go well beyond the traditional arms
control/disarmament paradigm;
(3) a short-term strategy to overcome the political
difficulties in the BWC;
(4) a medium-term strategy to strengthen the BWC;
(5) a willingness to actually enforce – by putative means if
required – existing law and norms;
(6) a recognition that there is no solution to this problem: it
requires on-going and permanent management.

Item Type: Monograph (Other)
Related URLs:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Politics and International Relations
ePrint ID: 39639
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:09

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