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Awareness and Education About the BTWC. Professor Malcolm Dando University of Bradford UK. 1. Disease Threats and Responses. Natural Disease Public Health Accidental Disease Laboratory Biosafety Deliberate Disease Biosecurity

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Awareness and education about the btwc

Awareness and Education About the BTWC

Professor Malcolm Dando

University of Bradford


1 disease threats and responses
1. Disease Threats and Responses

  • Natural Disease

    • Public Health

  • Accidental Disease

    • Laboratory Biosafety

  • Deliberate Disease

    • Biosecurity

      • National implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) including, for example, biosecurity, biodefence, and export controls

2 the biological and toxin weapons convention
2. The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention

  • Article I

    • “Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:

    • 1. Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes…”

3 national implementation of the btwc
3. National Implementation of the BTWC

  • Article IV

    • “Each State Party to this Convention shall, in accordance with its constitutional processes, take any necessary measure to prohibit and prevent the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition or retention of the agents, toxins…specified in Article I of the Convention…” (emphasis added)

4 second btwc review conference of 1986
4. Second BTWC Review Conference of 1986

  • “The Conference notes the importance of…

    • Inclusion in textbooks and in medical, scientific and military educational programmes of information dealing with the prohibition of microbial or other biological agents or toxins and the provisions of the Geneva Protocol [of 1925 which bans use of BW]…”

    • How would scientists be able to help develop and maintain any necessary codes of conduct and oversight systems without such information?

5 interactive seminars with life scientists
5. Interactive Seminars with Life Scientists

  • Bradford Briefing Paper 2005

    • “There is little evidence from our seminars that participants:

    • A. Regarded bioterrorism or bioweapons as a substantial threat;

    • B. Considered that developments in life science research contributed to biothreats;

    • C. Were aware of the current debates and concerns about dual-use research; or

    • D. Were familiar with the BTWC.”

6 btwc 2005 isp
6. BTWC 2005 ISP

  • Australia WP

    • “Amongst the Australian scientific community, there is a low level of awareness of the risk of the misuse of the biological sciences to assist in the development of biological or chemical weapons. Many scientists working in ‘dual-use’ areas simply do not consider the possibility that their work could inadvertently assist in a biological or chemical weapons programme.”

7 university education
7. University Education

  • 2008 survey of 142 courses in 57 European universities in 29 countries:

    • “This research suggested that only 3 out of the universities identified in the survey currently offered some form of specific biosecurity module and in all cases this was optional for students.”

    • Very similar results found in Japan, Israel and the Asia-Pacific region.

8 btwc 2008 isp
8. BTWC 2008 ISP

  • Report of the Meeting of States Parties:

    • “State Parties noted that the formal requirements for seminars, modules or courses, including possible mandatory components, in relevant scientific and engineering training programmes and continuing professional education could assist in raising awareness and in implementing the Convention.”

9 an education module resource emr
9. An Education Module Resource (EMR)

  • A. Introduction and overview (Lecture1)

  • B. The threat of biological warfare and terrorism and the international prohibition regime (Lectures 2-10)

  • C. The dual-use dilemma and the responsibilities of scientists (Lectures 11-18)

  • D. National implementation of the BTWC (Lectures 19-20)

  • E. Building an effective web of prevention (Lecture 21)

10 further developments of the emr
10. Further Developments of the EMR

  • Adaptation and use in Europe and Japan

  • Translation into Japanese, Russian, French, Spanish

  • Implementation assisted by a Train-the-Trainer programme

  • Condensation into five country-specific lecture versions in progress

11 some questions for life scientists
11. Some Questions for Life Scientists

  • Would you be able to spot a dual-use experiment of real dual-use concern?

  • Is there a mechanism in place where you work that would enable you to raise concerns about such an experiment?

  • Is your scientific association carefully following biosecurity developments nationally and internationally and keeping you informed about your responsibilities, and of how you might contribute your expertise to developing the web of prevention?

  • Are you aware of the key provisions of the BTWC and how these are enacted in national legislation?

12 obvious difficulties
12. Obvious Difficulties

  • Teaching bioethics to life scientists

    • Far from easy because of difference in culture between philosophy and natural science

  • Lack of resources

    • Need more on building a culture of responsible research to engage scientists

  • State Parties action needed

    • Bottom-up is not enough, top-down also needed to increase scale of operations

13 g8 foreign ministers
13. G8 Foreign Ministers

  • Statement of 14-15 March on the BTWC Review Conference

    • “The involvement of civil society…is essential to the effective implementation of the provisions of the Convention….We will…work on better awareness raising among those involved in the development of life sciences in order to limit the possibilities of misuse of technical developments, including supporting dual-use education programmes on bioethics.”

14 us statement at the preparatory committee
14. US Statement at the Preparatory Committee

  • “Priority Topics for intersessional work include:

    • Promoting confidence in State Parties’ compliance with Article 1 and other obligations…

    • Strengthening and promoting outreach, education, and awareness to and of those engaged in the life sciences to reinforce strong norms of responsible, ethical, and safety- and security-conscious behavior…”

15 jacksnnz information paper
15. JACKSNNZ Information Paper

  • “Possible considerations by State Parties at the Seventh Review Conference…

    • g. that State Parties should inform on their awareness-raising activities on dual-use education in a more explicit manner. (It is recognized that reports on these activities by State Parties could already be included in CBMs under ‘Other Measures’ in CBM Measure E, the ‘Declaration of legislation, regulations and other measures’ as measures undertaken to ensure effective national implementation of the BWC)…”