Verification deconstructed ? The Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention as a precursor…


Adopted by its initiators in 1972, without a mechanism for verification, the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention quickly emerged as an anemic instrument. For this reason, State Parties strived to elaborate a verification protocol, largely influenced by the Chemical Weapons Convention. At the precise moment when the probability that the mechanism could have been adopted was highest, the US vetoed the whole process initiated in 1994. During the 5th Review Conference, in 2002, replacement diplomacy was hastily employed. Leaving aside the idea of a protocol, the adopted approach focused on strengthening the Convention (universalisation and national implementation) as well as on confidence-building measures. This approach was confirmed in 2006, during the 6th Review Conference. If this stance indicates a clear break with the ‘extraordinary decade’ in the field of verification, it is now fully consistent with the current posture organized around the « toolbox » concept. After having been viewed as the past of arms control, the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention could very well become its future.

AFRI 2007 Summary

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