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The role of the Biological Weapons Convention in disease surveillance and response

The role of the Biological Weapons Convention in disease surveillance and response
The role of the Biological Weapons Convention in disease surveillance and response
This article assesses the role and significance of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) with respect to infectious disease surveillance and response to outbreaks. Increasingly, the BWC is being used as a platform for addressing infectious disease threats arising naturally as well as traditional concerns about malicious dissemination of pathogenic microorganisms. The latter have long had a place on the security agenda, but natural disease outbreaks too are now being partially ‘securitized’ through the use of the BWC as a forum for exchanging information and ideas on disease surveillance and response. The article focuses on two prominent issues discussed at recent meetings of BWC member states: enhancing capacity for disease surveillance and response; and responding to allegations of biological weapons use and investigating outbreaks deemed suspicious. It concludes, firstly, that the BWC supports the efforts of international health organizations to enhance disease surveillance and response capacity worldwide. And secondly, that the BWC, rather than the World Health Organization (WHO), is the appropriate institution to deal with biological weapons allegations and investigations of suspicious outbreaks. The overall message is that securitization in the health sphere cuts both ways. Adding a security dimension (BW) alongside the task of detecting and responding to naturally occurring disease outbreaks is beneficial, but requiring a non-security organization (the WHO) to assume a security role would be counterproductive.
0268-1080
486-494
Enemark, Christian
004b6521-f1bb-426a-a37b-686c6a8061f6
Enemark, Christian
004b6521-f1bb-426a-a37b-686c6a8061f6

Enemark, Christian (2010) The role of the Biological Weapons Convention in disease surveillance and response. [in special issue: Unhealthy Governance: Security Challenges and Policy Prospects] Health Policy and Planning, 25 (6), 486-494. (doi:10.1093/heapol/czq049).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article assesses the role and significance of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) with respect to infectious disease surveillance and response to outbreaks. Increasingly, the BWC is being used as a platform for addressing infectious disease threats arising naturally as well as traditional concerns about malicious dissemination of pathogenic microorganisms. The latter have long had a place on the security agenda, but natural disease outbreaks too are now being partially ‘securitized’ through the use of the BWC as a forum for exchanging information and ideas on disease surveillance and response. The article focuses on two prominent issues discussed at recent meetings of BWC member states: enhancing capacity for disease surveillance and response; and responding to allegations of biological weapons use and investigating outbreaks deemed suspicious. It concludes, firstly, that the BWC supports the efforts of international health organizations to enhance disease surveillance and response capacity worldwide. And secondly, that the BWC, rather than the World Health Organization (WHO), is the appropriate institution to deal with biological weapons allegations and investigations of suspicious outbreaks. The overall message is that securitization in the health sphere cuts both ways. Adding a security dimension (BW) alongside the task of detecting and responding to naturally occurring disease outbreaks is beneficial, but requiring a non-security organization (the WHO) to assume a security role would be counterproductive.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 9 September 2010
Published date: November 2010
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 400210
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/400210
ISSN: 0268-1080
PURE UUID: 3642c70e-6a64-47ab-add9-6f1b8e3eeeae
ORCID for Christian Enemark: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1833-0927

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Sep 2016 15:15
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 02:15

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