How do States Parties demonstrate compliance in the BTWC?
1 October, 2014
As those involved in WMD non-proliferation will know, verification and compliance issues in the BTWC have a troubled history. Nonetheless there is a general recognition that the Convention needs to have some better tools to enable its States Parties to demonstrate their compliance. How then can the topic be approached, and what specific effective strategies on compliance can be identified, drafted, agreed and implemented?
Compliance issues in the BTWC
Wednesday 24 – Friday 26 September 2014 (WP1342)
In partnership with the FCO and MoD in the UK, and the Foreign Ministries of the Netherlands and Norway, we convened a two day dialogue between experts and officials to assess how progress might be made. Key topics for discussion included how to develop existing tools, but also possible new ones, for monitoring and assessing compliance; the future for CBMs; how to develop the mechanisms for investigating possible use of biological weapons; and the relevance of an S&T review process to the assessment and demonstration of compliance. A common theme in all the discussions was the need to have a clearly articulated vision of what the BTWC will look like after 2016. That applies to longer-run planning for the Eighth Review Conference, but it is also necessary in the development of short-term strategies for the remaining meetings of the Meetings of States Parties. This will require patient diplomacy and a commitment to the long-run health of the regime: constructing a consensus on how to move forward will be challenging but there are opportunities also.
This meeting was the latest in an extensive programme of work on biological and chemical non-proliferation issues at Wilton Park that can be dated back to the late 1980s. The origins of the programme lie in a partnership initiated with Mike Moodie, then of the CBACI thinktank, and since then we have run at least one and often more meetings annually.