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troubled by the possibility that the Commission could restrict the dissem-
ination of information. As the pace of science accelerates, and as avenues
for disseminating knowledge multiply, there will be a growing need to
highly particularize the Commission™s authority so as to enable it to oper-
ate effectively without overstepping its mission™s boundaries.

Promote Capacity Building and Resource Mobilization
Bioviolence prevention requires States to devote scarce resources. There-
fore, international assistance should be provided to developing States that
lack capabilities. Gaping disparities of resources and lack of capacity to
undertake requisite measures should inform decisions as to how to allo-
cate burdens. But lack of capacity should not be cited to excuse disregard
or even delay compliance with reasonable international standards. Under
no conditions should emerging bioscience be promoted where biovio-
lence prevention is inadequate yet where assistance is neither sought nor
“Capacity building” refers to gaining skills to foster modernization.15
The term sometimes is incorrectly used as a synonym for “technology
transfer” “ that is, developing States could build capacity if they were
allowed access to modern technology. Increasingly, this view distorts the
role of technology in promoting development, especially at the frontiers
of science. Transferring biotechnology from developed nations to devel-
oping nations would not, in and of itself, build much capacity. Instead, it is
necessary to reach far into the scienti¬c community, including enhancing
a research capacity for devising solutions for local diseases and conditions.
Notably, these efforts should coordinate with the international organiza-
tions that are already engaged in capacity building, including the Global
Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the WTO,
and the World Bank.
The Commission need not be the actual provider of assistance. Instead,
it can coordinate training courses, workshops, and conferences on bio-
science applications; organize fellowships for bioscience specialists; and
raise awareness of bioscience™s potential contributions to sustainable
development. The Commission can work with the Office to address health
and natural resources management issues by encouraging institutional
coordination among government bodies, universities, research centers,
NGOs, and private companies. These efforts should weave networks
among national and regional expert institutions in order to de¬ne an
adaptable action plan for research support and to facilitate information

exchange. Recipients of capacity building assistance should maintain con-
trol over strategies to create a productive institutional framework where
work programs can be clearly de¬ned, information readily exchanged,
decisions ef¬ciently taken, and of¬cials held accountable. No less impor-
tant, these strategies must help police to interdict wrongful prepara-
A recent UN report emphasizes the linkage between receipt of bio-
science capacity-building assistance and a State™s implementation of basic
bioviolence prevention measures into their national law.

Bioterrorism, if not properly handled, could emerge as [a] barrier to tech-
nology transfer. Countries with advanced technology may be less willing to
provide the knowledge to countries whose capacity to manage and moni-
tor its use is weak. Therefore, countries must take deliberate steps to build
in-house capacity to manage and develop biotechnology. There will be
nothing more dangerous to world peace than having countries whose back-
yards could be used, without their knowledge due to a lack of monitoring
capacity, to manufacture deadly agents.16

Three components of capacity building deserve attention in con-
nection with bioviolence prevention policies. First, there must be a
knowledge base of scientists who can lead research initiatives, a techni-
cally trained support network, and well-equipped facilities to suf¬ciently
sustain research. To support national capacities for research and biotech-
nology applications, assistance could focus on establishing regional cen-
ters for bioscience education. Such centers of excellence could under-
take research thereby engaging scienti¬c personnel, resources, and skilled
managers. Most bioscience clusters grow near university communities
where fundamental research occurs. Accordingly, nations that currently
have limited bioscience capabilities could use universities to pursue part-
nerships with external research centers in order to jointly produce inno-
vations and contribute to biotechnology development.17
The second component of capacity building is access to capital. Ripen-
ing a deeply entrenched science community requires sustainable invest-
ment. However, developing countries lack mature venture capital mar-
kets, and new bioscience is risky. The lack of funding for institutional,
infrastructure, and personnel development is the main barrier. Indicating
the need to overcome this barrier, the Commission on Macroeconomics
and Health has suggested that $1.5 billion should be allocated to existing
institutions for research and development on drugs, vaccines, and med-
ical intervention. It further recommended the establishment of a Global

Health Research Fund to operate also with a $1.5 billion budget to support
scienti¬c research and development.18
Last, it is critical to have strong legal and regulatory institutions to
enhance markets by protecting property rights, impartially enforcing con-
tracts, and fostering competition through antitrust enforcement. Political
institutions “ especially in developing countries “ are fragile, and if these
countries lack a strong rule-of-law foundation, then there is an increased
risk of corruption.19 Designing accountability and transparency mecha-
nisms and building effective checks and balances to guard against corrup-
tion is crucial for markets to smoothly function.

The Bioviolence Prevention Of¬ce (Of¬ce)
Bioviolence prevention™s many domains “ health, law enforcement, sci-
ence, development, trade, etc., each with its own bureaucratic supervi-
sor “ testify to the need for coordination of many activities and actors. The
Office could help States develop their own legal and scienti¬c infrastruc-
tures to implement regulatory standards. It could also serve as an essential
administrative tool by providing necessary secretariat services to States
and to other UN bodies dealing with bioviolence prevention issues. The
Office would organize global efforts to prevent bioviolence under a uni-
¬ed work plan and reorient the work of various programs by establishing
broad priorities, assessing progress of prevention policies, and making
recommendations to relevant organizations.
These primary missions of the Office suggest powers that could readily
be overstepped, even abused. This is why the Office should have no de jure
authority. Its design must carefully traverse a tightrope, being neither an
unaccountable decision maker citing biothreats to justify exercise of gov-
ernmental power, nor an irrelevant closet full of datasheets and ignored
manifestos on the other side. This is also why the Office should be sepa-
rate from the Commission and why potentially sensitive responsibilities
should be in its domain. Whereas the composition of committees in the
United Nations is controlled by the States, the Secretary General appoints
the staff of an of¬ce. Being removed from the political in¬‚uences of States
means that the Office would be a legally independent component of the
United Nations as a whole that does not serve any particular State interest.
The Office should not displace or supersede what a few dozen interna-
tional organizations and countless professional associations are already
accomplishing to reduce biothreats. Its role should be to harmonize biovi-
olence prevention policies by organizing and ¬lling in the blanks of this

jumbled m´ lange. Indeed, by harmonizing the activities of other pro-
grams, the Office would observe a trend within the United Nations sys-
tem to enhance existing programs™ ef¬cacy rather than to replace those
programs with new bureaucratic structures. Programs such as the Joint
United Nations Program on AIDS/HIV (UNAIDS “ recommends priorities
to organizations with AIDS-prevention responsibilities)20 and the United
Nations Development Group (UNDG “ helps countries reach the Millen-
nium Development Goals)21 have productively coordinated organizations
in their respective ¬elds to tackle major global issues.
The Office would have two critical missions that require precise delin-
eation lest the parameters of bioviolence prevention policy be exceeded:
1) information gathering and analysis, and 2) harmonization of and com-
pliance with international standards.

Information Gathering and Analysis
A bedrock of the entire bioviolence prevention strategy is the need to gather
enough information to know the location of pathogens and laboratories,
the international traf¬c in relevant items, and States™ internal oversight
and monitoring mechanisms. All this information must be effectively cor-
related with information about criminal and terrorist networks. Accord-
ingly, the Office could augment law enforcement interdiction and interna-
tional compliance assessments by establishing criteria for uniform data
sets, core informational requirements, and timely monitoring and report-
ing mechanisms.
The Office must do more than passively receive data; it should develop
mechanisms to integrate and analyze data from diverse sources. This func-
tion could suggest establishing independent collection capabilities. How-
ever, a quandary here is how much the Office should make use of modern
surveillance technology to gather its own sources of data “ a capability
that might raise concerns about the Office having unsupervised surveil-
lance powers. The Office™s information gathering and analysis responsi-
bilities should, therefore, be limited and certainly not be confused with
treaty veri¬cation. It should gather and analyze three distinct types of

1. Information about standards that are set by specialized organiza-
tions and associations. The Office should determine if policies com-
ing from all these diverse sources are consistent and should address
discrepancies or gaps.

2. Information that might suggest potential threats. Chapter 5 dis-
cussed the importance of detecting anomalous situations that call
for further inquiry. In brief, the Office should be where information
to enable such detection is amassed and analyzed.
3. Information about emerging issue arenas that will call for new
policies. Chapter 6 discussed why bioscience™s radical acceleration
poses altogether unique dif¬culties for designing legal measures to
reduce risks. The Office™s responsibility in this context would be to
track and even predict tomorrow™s trends.

A useful analogy here is the information gathering capabilities of the
Of¬ce for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA). Its International Space Information
Service (ISIS) houses various directories, documents, and the Register of
Objects Launched into Outer Space that tracks which States launch satel-
lites, each satellite™s general function, and its orbital parameters. The ISIS
can track both objects registered with the UN and others by obtaining
additional information from external sources.22 Analogously, the Office
should maintain a register that can be updated to keep track of dangerous
pathogens and their intended purpose. This register can be supplemented
with information from the World Federation for Culture Collections and
other national culture collection agencies, various transportation moni-
toring agencies, and law enforcement bodies.
As the repository of information, it is important that the Office respect
privacy and proprietary interests. The risk of revealing valuable or sen-
sitive information could engender resistance from persons who must
provide it. For example, access to health records and monitoring of the
internet might help the Office ful¬ll its responsibilities but at a price
that scientists and perhaps the general public ¬nd unacceptable. These
quandaries call for formulation of nuanced policies that are carefully
honed to be consistent with the Office™s pivotal yet limited role. It could
learn lessons from multilateral initiatives to control nuclear and chemical
weapons proliferation that have developed intricate con¬dentiality mech-
anisms. Most experts agree that these mechanisms satisfy both the need
for information and the imperative to keep that information out of public

Impelling Implementation
As the harmonizer of various organizations™ standards concerning biovio-
lence prevention, the Office™s most sensitive role would be to impel States to
properly implement and comply with these standards. The Office will not

have any power over States, but there are subtle methods to impel States to
adhere to progressive international standards. The Office™s responsibility,
in this context, would be to help States observe common standards and to
design realistic analyses for assessing compliance.
The Office™s staff should comprise legal and scienti¬c experts tasked
with guiding sound policy decisions and working within the frameworks
of existing organizations to harmonize common standards. Although the
Office will not be authorized to adopt rules, it could leverage its expertise
and networks to persuade key players who do have authority to implement
particular standards that the Office has helped to shape. Through this pro-
cess, the Office could accelerate coordination of international bioviolence
The Office™s extensive network of contacts could open opportunities for
experts to provide input when proposals are drafted. Today, there are dis-
connects among many expert bodies who mutually disregard each other™s
objectives; these disconnects handicap effective bioviolence prevention
policies. The Office should, therefore, establish processes that facilitate
transinstitutional communication and that solicit insight about emerging
concerns. According to one expert, “[G]iving all who have relevant infor-
mation and positions a chance to advance their ideas in the policy-making
process helps to bring expertise to bear, test the prevailing wisdom, and
ensure neutrality within the decision-making framework.”24
Moreover, the Office should assist a web of local, national, and inter-
national actors to develop appropriate bioviolence laws and practices.
Through quiet diplomacy exercised by an experienced core of experts, the
Office could explain to States why accession to widely accepted rules is in
their best interest; this is akin to how the International Union for the Con-
servation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) operates in the ¬eld of
international environmental protection.25 The Office should keep abreast
of recent developments and upcoming activities so that it can help apprise
organizations of the implications of bioviolence considerations for their
decisions. By working with nations, the Office could also provide fact ¬nd-
ing and investigatory support such as special rapporteurs for documenting
violations of international obligations.
Global ¬nancial institutions could play an important role in impelling
bioviolence prevention, and the Office should be capable of working with
these institutions. The World Bank and regional development banks give
substantial funding support to health-related projects including programs
to build public health infrastructure. These funders can supervise how the


A useful analogy is capacity building to implement the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-
safety. Biosafety capabilities should be enhanced by establishing a roster of experts,
reviewing appropriate capacity-building activities, identifying mechanisms of multi-
lateral cooperation, engaging the private sector, de¬ning the Secretariat™s role, and
assessing ¬nancial resources. All this should be devoted to:


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