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of the human body and its ailments and diseases and of the interventions
required to deal with them. These products can deliver on two vital and
inextricably linked goals “ improved health and more sustainable growth
and development.8

Yet, bioscience carries an inexorable potential for catastrophe. Respect
for policies to prevent that harm is a humanity-wide obligation. The com-
mitment to encourage the global spread of bioscience should be fused,
therefore, with an obligation to undertake bioscienti¬c activities accord-
ing to standards that appreciate those activities™ unfortunate potential
for wreaking disaster. With opportunities and encouragement necessar-
ily comes responsibility “ no matter how great the need, no one should
be able to obtain bene¬ts by ignoring risks. As will be discussed, gaping

disparities of resources and capacities are relevant to decisions as to how to
allocate burdens. Those disparities should not, however, be cited to excuse
disregard or even delay in implementing reasonable measures to prevent
malevolent use of pathogens.
The governance mission should thus be conceived as a global covenant.
All communities must strive to prevent bioviolence, and all communi-
ties must strive to promote bioscience as a fundamental pillar of human-
ity™s progress. Responsibilities should be common to all, even as the bur-
dens associated with those responsibilities are differentiated according to
wealth and capability “ a well-recognized precept of international law in
general. From everyone according to their abilities; to all for the bene¬t
of all.
Accordingly, communities that embrace responsible bioviolence pre-
vention measures should receive support for developing bioscience.
Resources should ¬‚ow to communities that manifest their compliance
with bioviolence prevention measures, thereby accelerating the global-
ization of responsible science that, among other virtues, is key to early
detection of bioviolence preparations. Willingness to abide by interna-
tional standards for securing pathogens and labs, strengthening police,
preparing for outbreak response, and nonproliferation should bring tan-
gible bene¬ts. These bene¬ts could include: assistance for universities and
centers of bioscience excellence; investment in indigenous biotechnology;
access to bioscience information networks; and expansion of capabilities
to produce vaccines and therapeutics for infectious diseases. These part-
nerships should be recognized by international development and funding
institutions including the World Bank and its regional counterparts.
If that undertaking cannot be sustained for lack of capacity, then assis-
tance should be forthcoming. If, however, a community disregards its obli-
gations or bypasses opportunities for assistance as needed, then that com-
munity necessarily signals its unjusti¬able rejection of the global covenant
and should be denied access to those bene¬ts.
The interwoven and sometimes competing considerations that have
been discussed throughout this book “ the ubiquity and undetectability of
pathogens, the shared vulnerability of humanity to disease, and the global
interactivity of bioscience “ all suggest that preventing bioviolence is a
shared human endeavor, demanding a shared human response through
shared institutions. Thus, the global covenant that is the governance mis-
sion decrees the commonality of the human species™ most basic and most
long-lasting struggle against lethal microbes and offers a new vision of
how to harmonize the advance of bioscience, development, and security.


The governance architecture must be global with legitimate authority that
is commensurate with the gravity of bioviolence threats. It should serve,
fundamentally, to coordinate disparate organizations and professional
disciplines. Bioviolence prevention is not the responsibility of only scien-
tists or only police. It is implausible, however, that scientists, law enforcers,
and other professional disciplines will reach across their different perspec-
tives by merely a spirit of solidarity.
In parallel, the governance architecture must enable worldwide coor-
dination of the State authorities and international organizations. It would
be simplistic to propose that all nations should come together in a spirit
of diplomatic harmony for advancing so many complex policies. Nations
have critical roles, but it is far-fetched to believe that much progress can
be made without a global body that designs goals and obligations, gathers
information, builds capacity, and enforces compliance. By the same logic,
to expect the more than thirty international organizations that have rele-
vant responsibilities, led by Interpol and the World Health Organization,
to seamlessly harmonize their standards and missions without explicit
direction is naive. Each of these organizations has a demarcated man-
date, and interweaving disparate bureaucracies with separate agendas
and sustaining coordination over time is not realistic. Looming over all
States and organizations is the larger question of who should address
the hardest cases “ who should wield enforcement power if there are
actual suspicions of bioviolence preparations or, worse, a bioviolence
These two coordination roles “ among professional communities and
among States and international organizations “ are something of a double
helix. They wind around each other with virtually in¬nite linkages that
mutate over time. Ultimately, this is why policies for preventing bioviolence
are so complicated and have proceeded so unproductively.
It is proposed, therefore, that critical coordination responsibilities for
bioviolence prevention be executed by three new bodies within the United
Nations: 1) a Commission on Bioscience and Security (Commission); 2) a
Bioviolence Prevention Of¬ce (Office) within the United Nations Secre-
tariat; and 3) a Bioviolence Committee of the Security Council (Security
Council Committee).
The Commission should promote secure bioscience worldwide and
assist countries to use bioscience consistent with policies for preventing
bioviolence. It should be designed to stimulate bioscience development by

incorporating security concerns into the fabric of scienti¬c undertakings,
embodying the principle that science, development, and security can and
must be mutually reinforcing. Its primary responsibilities would be to pro-
mote and distribute knowledge and, along with the Office, build capacity
to ful¬ll obligations, especially in developing nations.
The Office within the UN Secretariat should be the fulcrum of coordina-
tion among the relevant parts of the United Nations system as well as other
international/regional organizations, professional networks, and expert
bodies. It should supervise long-term bioviolence prevention strategies,
yet it should have no power in and of itself. It will be the steering mech-
anism to coordinate many organizations that have specialized expertise
but that infrequently work together on their own initiative. Its primary
functions would be to harmonize rules from these organizations and to
gather and analyze data about compliance.
These cooperative functions must be separated from investigatory and
response activities concerning bioviolence preparation or attack. Situa-
tions that call for investigation or response arise rarely but carry dispro-
portionate signi¬cance for international peace and security. The Security
Council Committee, therefore, should pursue and investigate biothreats
and coordinate assistance following a bioviolence attack. It should not
advance programmatic agendas, but it should wield expertise and politi-
cal muscle in volatile situations. Its primary mission would be to enable
the Security Council to sustain global order in the face of a bioviolence
Placing governance responsibilities in the United Nations is consis-
tent with its recent pronouncements. The United Nations High-level Panel
on Threats, Challenges and Change9 recommended a global strategy for
international peace and security based on: dissuading people from resort-
ing to terrorism and violence, denying capabilities to carry out attacks,
deterrence, developing capacity to defeat terrorism, and defending human
rights. The Panel recognized that disease, hunger, and environmental
degradation are inextricably linked to security. This recognition built upon
the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals for eradicat-
ing poverty and hunger, combating disease, and ensuring environmental
sustainability.10 The eighth goal is to establish a global partnership for
achieving these objectives. Said then-Secretary General Annan, “What is
common to all of these elements is the indispensability of the rule of law,
nationally and internationally.”11
A cautionary comment must be offered. Creating new of¬ces and com-
mittees within the United Nations will accomplish nothing absent political

commitment and resources to carry out that commitment. Clearly, adding
to the United Nations bureaucracy will not, in and of itself, lessen global
This chapter makes the inverse argument: essential political commit-
ments and resources are far harder to mobilize if policy makers lack a
vision of how to usefully allocate them. Indeed, one part of the problem in
addressing bioviolence is that, while some policy makers appreciate the
threat and are willing to take action, they lack architecture for how policy
pieces might be synchronized. This chapter, therefore, does not prescribe
three United Nations bodies as the “solution” for preventing bioviolence,
but if there are committed leaders who agree that bioviolence prevention
is a challenge that must be met, it is useful to specify realistic plans for how
to put ideas and initiatives into operation.

The United Nations Commission on Bioscience
and Security (Commission )
The Commission should undertake the largest and most visibly active part
of bioviolence prevention. Standing at the junction of the global bioscience
community and States, it would assist developing countries to take advan-
tage of bioscience. It also would follow legal, scienti¬c, and technical devel-
opments relating to bioscience and technology in order to advise States,
international organizations, and other United Nations of¬ces. Its three
programmatic components would be to promote bioscience, to de¬ne
standards for the conduct of bioscience, and to increase national capacity
for developing bioscience.

Promote Bioscience Research
The Commission™s highest priorities would be to de¬ne strategies for cop-
ing with critical bioscience policy issues and to frame perspectives of key
constituencies. Accordingly, the Commission would be the world™s pri-
mary body responsible for upholding a right to bioscience development
and promoting its sustainable and peaceful uses. It would do so by stimu-
lating research and identifying promotional strategies and by arranging for
technical advisory services especially in States with emerging bioscience
The Commission need not undertake primary research, but it could
usefully coordinate various UN institutes that do research on relevant con-
cerns such as economic planning and information management. It could
work, for example, with various United Nations research institutes that

are deeply engaged in analyses of social development issues (the Research
Institute for Social Development), that contribute to international security
and disarmament initiatives (the Institute for Disarmament Research), and
that undertake genetic engineering training and research (the Institute for
Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology). The Commission would thereby
highlight the signi¬cance of some types of inquiries and help shape social
perception of new discoveries and applications. By distributing the prod-
ucts of research, it would help equalize global information asymmetries.
This process has a multiplier effect: disseminating knowledge stimulates
extensive interaction which catalyzes experimentation that evokes new
The Commission should con¬gure channels for exchanging bioscience
knowledge. It should prepare and distribute reports on international bio-
science activities and on international law pertaining to bioscience. An
important implication here is that State and international of¬cials who
need to understand critical matters of bioviolence prevention policy typi-
cally have other responsibilities in other issue arenas; they will inevitably
turn to internationally respected and neutral bioviolence experts when an
issue in this domain arises. The Commission plays a particularly strong
role here by credentialing “experts” to provide critical knowledge. Thus,
by structuring research priorities, the Commission, albeit drawing formal
authority from States and other organizations, could become the locus of
power within its issue purview.
A key quandary will be determining how nongovernmental sources
can contribute perspectives. There are strong virtues to encouraging such
contributions, but the Commission must be selective as well as inclusive;
input from irresponsible sources could impede the Commission™s mission.
Rules of procedure, therefore, should govern how expertise is admitted.
Equitable geographical representation, different trends of thought, and
varying degrees of development should all be taken in account. This should
be compatible with formal processes to encourage expert and public par-
ticipation that are a growing feature of international law. The Convention
on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision Making and
Access to Justice in Environmental Affairs demonstrates how to usefully
enable public participation in the decision making processes of States and
of international organizations.12 An analogy here is to the World Health
Organization™s (WHO) “Regulations for Expert Advisory Panels and Com-
mittees” that limits how many experts may participate in discussions on
a given subject while obtaining relevant input from diverse branches of
knowledge and local experience.13

To enable global communication of scienti¬c and technical issues, the
Commission should supervise a Scienti¬c and Technical Advisors™ Network
that has the following responsibilities:

r To review reports or agreements by other organizations on bio-
science and collate that information into an accessible database;
r To act as a forum to bring together scientists and technical experts
in order to facilitate delivery of advice and assistance on how to
address scienti¬c developments that may pose a risk.

Another important function of the Commission will be to establish a
Global Resource Center for Bioviolence Prevention that would be a library
of manuals, training materials, scholarly papers, and reports for States
and expert researchers. The Center could help distribute information and
materials worldwide and provide analyses of these documents for useful
application to new issues and controversies.

De¬ne Standards for Bioscience
To the minimal extent that bioscience needs to be “governed” “ for exam-
ple, developing standards for research having uniquely dangerous impli-
cations “ the Commission should undertake relevant responsibilities. The
Commission should be the nucleus of bioscience policy formulation, pre-
scribing ways to promote sustainable bioscience development that incor-
porate policies to prevent bioviolence. In that context, it would work closely
with development institutions (e.g., the World Bank, UNESCO, UNDP, etc.)
to ensure that those institutions appropriately understand how their activ-
ities affect bioviolence prevention.
Thus, the Commission should de¬ne and prioritize tasks to be per-
formed by governments and other organizations. As the world™s princi-
pal disseminator of bioscience knowledge, the Commission would also be
responsible for restricting access to that knowledge. As discussed in Chap-
ter 6, there may be experiments that reveal capabilities so potentially lethal
that their circulation would need to be corralled, thereby superseding the
normal preference to consider information a public good. Because the
integration of information dissemination systems is global, the challenge
of controlling that dissemination befalls the global authority.14
For a body to limit access to knowledge, it will not only have to hold
that knowledge securely “ it must also monitor communications and
other information distribution networks. Bioscientists and others might be


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