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In 2003, the National Research Council initiated a study to set forth a realistic vision
of bioscience and biotechnology in Russia over the next ten years. The Committee on
Future Contributions of the Biosciences to Public Health, Agriculture, Basic Research,
Counterterrorism, and Non-Proliferation Activities issued a report entitled “Biological
Science and Biotechnology in Russia “ Controlling Diseases and Enhancing Security.”
This report recommended the following principles to strengthen Russia™s public health
and security programs:
r Focus on surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, and development of countermeasures
(e.g., drugs and vaccines) capable of addressing diseases;
r Improve capabilities to detect and diagnose new, re-emerging, and antibiotic-
resistant pathogens;
r Upgrade communication systems to provide timely and accurate information;
r Integrate human and animal disease surveillance;
r Monitor food and water supplies for safety and potability;
r Support well-focused research projects that strengthen fundamental scienti¬c
r Strengthen programs to commercialize scienti¬c ¬ndings within a regulatory frame-
work that supports public health and protects agriculture;
r Develop improved understanding of the relationships between infectious agents
and important noncommunicable chronic diseases;
r Support the emergence of a strong domestic biotechnology sector that enhances
efforts to combat infectious diseases;
r Develop and implement effective security procedures at hundreds of facilities that
can propagate, store, or distribute pathogens that could be used for bioterro-
r Conduct nationwide inventory and consolidate many collections where appropriate;
r Promote broad transparency of Russian research and other public health prevention
and control activities involving dangerous pathogens;
r Recruit, train, and retain an expanded cadre of biomedical scientists, medical doc-
tors, veterinarians, plant pathologists, epidemiologists, and other relevant special-
ists equipped with modern technology and positioned to deal with infectious dis-
ease threats.

SOURCE: Biological Science and Biotechnology in Russia: Controlling Diseases and Enhancing
Security, Committee on Future Contributions of the Biosciences to Public Health, Agricul-
ture, Basic Research, Counterterrorism, and Non-Proliferation Activities in Russia, NATIONAL

weapons destruction has not proceeded suf¬ciently fast enough. Yet, there
should be no doubt about these bodies™ contributions in bringing exper-
tise, transparency, and con¬dence to weapons dismantlement efforts.
With regard to former Soviet bioweapons stockpiles, it is imperative to
ask why Russian of¬cials should have the authority to deny access to these
horrifying sites, at least without raising the greatest outcry from interna-
tional supervisors up to and including the Security Council. In the same
vein, why should the predominant ¬nancial burden for securing these
sites fall to the United States (the European Union has developed its own
assistance programs, but these predominantly focus on nuclear materi-
als) and therefore be subject to the political vicissitudes of the American
budgetary process? This is not intended to be a critique of the impor-
tant work being done by many U.S. and Russian personnel trying to cope
with a potential source of bioviolence threats. Instead, the criticism is
directed toward the international community, notably the BWC, which
is wholly disengaged from what should be its most important priority.
A high objective for international nonproliferation policy is to prevent
the proliferation of already fashioned weapons. There is no more important
role for the BWC, which embodies the norm against biological weapons,
than to aggressively assert humanity™s common imperative that previous
generations™ worst crimes must not in¬‚ict a monstrous toll against children
and generations yet to come. All the current debates about strengthening
the BWC are tri¬‚ing and ultimately will be pointless if this central obliga-
tion is not at the very pinnacle of its agenda. The fact that former Soviet
bioweapons stockpiles were not the pivotal issue at the 2006 BWC Review
Conference is unimpeachable testimony to the attending diplomats™


Two issues that have traditionally been considered as within the purview
of the BWC have never been satisfactorily addressed: How should policies
to advance the free exchange of bioscience be balanced with the BWC™s
nonproliferation imperative? and; Should there be established a global
authority structure directly in connection with the BWC? Failure to make
progress on these issues over the passage of years has propounded a sense
of diplomatic failure, all the more so because these issues carry important
implications. Indeed, those implications are so important that they should
be lifted out of the BWC to be pillars of the global governance architecture
that is discussed in Chapter 9.

Protecting the Free Trade in Bioscience
The issue of incentives for developing States has in¬‚amed BWC debates.
BWC Article X allows parties to participate freely in the exchange of bio-
science equipment, materials, and information for peaceful purposes.
Many developing States argue that developed States™ export restrictions
on biotechnology are therefore prohibited. The real controversy surrounds
the “Australia Group,” an alliance of thirty-nine developed nations plus the
European Commission to enforce common export controls for dangerous
items. Developing States claim it is a cartel for limiting access to lucrative
technology in violation of BWC Article X.65 Developed States, including the
United States, assert that the BWC™s prohibition against bioweapons pro-
liferation supersedes Article X™s weakly stated preference for bioscience™s
unrestricted spread. This debate has evolved into an arcane tussle over
treaty terminology and interpretation of little interest to anyone other than
the diplomats whose living depends on arguing about it.
The truly important controversy, discussed throughout much of this
book, is how to promote the global spread of bioscience and the free
trade in advancing biotechnology consistently with preventing the pro-
liferation of bioweapons capabilities. This is complicated. Much of Chap-
ter 9™s proposal for establishing oversight and assistance bodies in the
United Nations is devoted to addressing this issue. It suf¬ces to say the
BWC “ a treaty that is predominantly a set of normative commitments lack-
ing enforcement mechanisms “ is altogether unsuited to make progress on
such multifaceted and nuanced matters. What should be clear is that Arti-
cle X is too simplistic to integrate the aspirations for free trade in bioscience
with the treaty™s basic purpose of prohibiting proliferation of bioweapons.
In fact, Article X actually requires no one to do anything; it is an empty
provision. Unquestionably, the global expansion of peaceful bioscience for
development is a fundamental pillar of the bioviolence prevention strat-
egy, but the BWC is ill-suited to sustain a development agenda that far
exceeds its scope or mandate.

A Global BWC Organization
An even more longstanding debate has centered on whether a BWC orga-
nization should be created. Certainly, a global authority structure for pre-
venting bioviolence is needed. The argument for building that structure
around the BWC is that both the treaty prohibiting proliferation of nuclear
weapons (the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) and the treaty prohibiting

proliferation of chemical weapons (the Chemical Weapons Convention)
have authority structures (respectively, the International Atomic Energy
Agency and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons).
But this argument ignores the countless reasons why threats of biovio-
lence are different than threats of nuclear or chemical weapons prolifer-
ation. The need for an authority structure for preventing bioviolence has
metastasized far beyond the BWC™s scope. More systemic United Nations
governance is needed as will be discussed in Chapter 9.
International investigative capabilities are necessary, but this is more
sensitive than the BWC can manage. The BWC requires consultations when
there are doubts about a State™s compliance and submission of a complaint
against a violator to the UN Security Council, but this nebulous process has
never been used. The only formal accusation of a BWC violation involved
a Cuban accusation that the United States attacked it with insects dropped
from an aircraft “ a charge that is discounted by experts.66 Recently, senior
diplomats have hurled accusations of covert bioweapons programs, yet no
one has seen ¬t to use the BWC process to judge alleged perpetrators. These
allegations “ mostly from American intelligence sources and diplomats “
should be investigated through a far more elaborate legal process that will
also be discussed in Chapter 9. Until that process is established, diplomatic
allegations about bioweapons proliferation are unresolvable.
In brief, effective nonproliferation is essential to bioviolence pre-
vention; strengthening the BWC is imperative. The thesis here is that
the BWC should focus on the three issues that nonproliferation mecha-
nisms can contribute to resolving: How should bioweapons be de¬ned?
How should States build mutual con¬dence that they are not making
bioweapons? and How should dismantlement and destruction of weapons
stockpiles be veri¬ed? Issues concerning the free trade in bioscience and
concerning the establishment of a bioviolence prevention organization
deserve enormous attention as discussed shortly. Right now, the BWC is
in jeopardy that, in turn, jeopardizes nonproliferation efforts generally.
Selective progress can and should be pursued immediately.
9 The Challenge of Global Governance

Throughout this book is a persistent plea to establish a global governance
architecture for preventing bioviolence “ its absence induces policy iner-
tia. It is dif¬cult to envision how prevention policies can advance without
some entity to make decisions, supervise their implementation, and mon-
itor compliance. Identifying who or what should undertake those respon-
sibilities is a crucial challenge for international law.
To make this challenge manageable, a useful admonition is that form
follows mission.


Nearly one million children under the age of ¬ve died last month, mostly
in developing countries. Most of these deaths were due to malnutrition or
diseases that are readily preventable.1 Next month, another million chil-
dren will die. The month after . . . In some developing countries, average
life expectancy is sinking below forty years; in developed countries it is
rising above eighty.2
In contrast to these appalling statistics is the undeniable fact that pre-
venting bioviolence is expensive. States must enact new regulatory laws,
equip and train police, implement and enforce controls on pathogens
and laboratories, facilitate development of and access to vaccines, and
empower the domestic penal system to detect and prosecute behav-
ior designed to cause catastrophic harm. Large quantities of informa-
tion must be gathered and analyzed by trained of¬cials. First responders
and public health networks need to be prepared. All these systems must
be linked to counterparts in other States and to relevant international
organizations. Arrays of secondary systems should be established, from
whistle-blowing and anticorruption mechanisms, to making biodefense


capabilities translucent, to assigning diplomats to represent the State™s
interests in multilateral arenas.
From the perspective of many economically developing States, meet-
ing all these obligations presents herculean challenges that will strain
bureaucratic attention even if everything proceeds smoothly. If things get
muddled, the costs of enforcing compliance and ironing out disputes will
be substantial. Moreover, extensive regulations designed to deny access
to pathogens or critical equipment might forestall the anticipated bene-
¬ts of pharmaceutical development or basic bioresearch. For developing
nations™ policy makers trying to cope with malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis,
and other maladies, a legitimate question of priorities arises when devel-
oped nations propound dreadful bioviolence scenarios. Where mass pub-
lic health challenges are daily phenomena, the risks of terrorists using
pathogens have to be weighed against more tangible threats from nature.
Simply stated, it is illegitimate to discuss policies for preventing
human-in¬‚icted disease without acknowledging the silent genocide 3 that
is responsible for so many deaths from natural disease. But neither is it
legitimate to view bioviolence threats as distractions from efforts to com-
bat natural disease and therefore to put off bene¬cial measures until those
af¬‚ictions are defeated. To do so would leave developing nations wholly
vulnerable to a deliberate attack. More generally, this view frustrates for-
ward movement even on limited and cost-effective initiatives that could
help build an international security framework for advancing science and
The essence of the governance mission for bioviolence prevention,
therefore, is that preventing bioviolence must be a facet of a broad interna-
tional commitment to: 1) prevent the spread of disease (e.g., public health);
2) enhance protection against and cures for disease (e.g., vaccination and
drug therapies); 3) supervise the conduct of biological science and; 4)
criminalize unauthorized or improper use of pathogens. Once biovio-
lence prevention is seen in this larger context, and once the inherent and
unavoidable global character of disease challenges are appreciated, deci-
sions about how to allocate responsibilities and opportunities can be ratio-
nally considered. In this context, bioviolence prevention measures need
not siphon resources from other priorities but are instead critical cords in
the fabric of humanity™s pursuit of security and scienti¬c development.
From this foundation should ¬‚ow a policy commitment to the growth
of bioscience as a global public good, and policies to encourage its world-
wide spread deserve support. Bioscience™s advance is extremely impor-
tant to meeting many of humanity™s most essential needs, and it can be

an accelerator for economic development.4 It has become an increasingly
important component in the United Nations™ development activities and,
by implication, intricately intertwined with international security.5 The
UN Millennium Project™s Task Force on Science, Technology, and Inno-
vation has identi¬ed emerging bioscience as a powerful tool in meet-
ing global challenges posed by food insecurity, industrial underdevel-
opment, environmental degradation, and disease. Bioscience provides
opportunities for training scientists, stimulates foreign investment, and
can be commercially pro¬table.6 Future synergies among nanotechnology,
biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science offer mul-
tiplying opportunities. Accordingly, the United Nations General Assembly
has urged international bodies engaged in bioscience to work coopera-
tively and has called for an integrated framework to promote bioscience
development within the United Nations system.7 According to the Orga-
nization for Economic Cooperation and Development:

[B]ioscience has the potential to enable better outcomes for health, the
environment, and for industrial, agricultural, and energy production.
Innovative products and services with improved economic and environ-
mental performance will draw on renewable resources and biological pro-
cesses to meet the needs of society. If delivered successfully, they have the
potential to help decouple industrial growth from environmental degrada-
tion and deliver a more resilient, more biobased economy, less susceptible
to uncontrollable global events and less dependent on large-scale distri-
bution systems.
Life science research and biotechnology also promise more effective
and ef¬cient products to help deliver better health, whether in devel-
oped or developing countries, that are based on a fuller understanding


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