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JDR Vol.8 No.4 pp. 667-673
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2013.p0667
(2013)

Paper:

Dual-Use Issues in the Life Sciences: Outcomes of the Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention

Kiwako Tanaka

The National Institute for Defense Studies, 2-2-1 Nakameguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8648, Japan

Received:
March 31, 2013
Accepted:
June 24, 2013
Published:
August 1, 2013
Keywords:
Biological Weapons Convention, dual-use, life sciences, code of conduct
Abstract

Current advances in the life sciences have brought about immense improvements in the areas of health and agricultural productivity worldwide. The technology and knowledge that are used for such advances can, however, be potentially misused as biological weapons. This dual-use nature of the life sciences has become a serious concern, particularly with developments in synthetic biology or “-omics” technologies, such as genomics and proteomics, combined with the increasingly widespread accessibility and use of communications technologies. The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is a unique multilateral legal framework that is envisaged to play a significant role in preventing such misuse and misconduct. This paper analyzes the outcomes of the Seventh Review Conference of the BWC, which was held in December 2011, in light of recent scientific and technological developments in the life sciences. It recognizes the establishment of an annual review channel of scientific and technological developments during the intersessional periods between review conferences as a step forward in addressing the dual-use issues related to the BWC. This paper also recommends that, to further strengthen its applicability, this review channel must be utilized effectively to translate the outcomes of the review into national implementation measures, including codes of conduct, education, and awarenessraising.

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Last updated on Nov. 10, 2017