National Implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention
Posted: 29 Feb 2008
Date Written: 2006
Despite thirty years since entry into force of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) the majority of States Parties still have not implemented effective national measures to ensure compliance with Convention obligations. The combined lack of a multilateral organisation with responsibility to monitor Convention compliance and the growing threat of bio-terrorism highlight the imperative for more effective and widespread national implementation measures. This article briefly outlines Convention obligations and suggests alternative approaches to States Parties to ensure compliance. The article does not propose a model implementing legislation package because of the authors' shared view that one model simply cannot suit all States Parties. Individual states will need to consider existing legislative regimes - particularly those dealing with biological materials and activities - to determine the extent to which existing regulatory regimes might be adapted or amended to effectively cover BWC obligations. The authors discuss the explicit Convention obligation for the enactment of penal legislation but also discuss the practical issues to ensure compliance with Convention obligations such as the prohibition on transfers of biological agents and toxins of types and in quantities that have no justification for peaceful purposes and the requirement to gather, collate and share confidence building information with other States Parties. The article concludes with an overview of Australia's national implementation of BWC obligations to illustrate one particular State Party's approach to its treaty obligations.
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