Analysis of the Current State of Affairs Around the BTWC: Problems and Their Possible Solutions

61
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-10-112-121
S. Zavriev (szavriev@ibch.ru),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.
A. Malygina (a.malygina@spbu.ru),
Saint Petersburg State University, 7-9, Universitetskaya Emb., Saint-Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation

Received 19.02.2021.

Abstract. The COVID‑19 pandemic has highlighted the relevance of biosecurity and biosafety issues, including such risks as the deliberate use of biological weapons, agroterrorism, and developments in life sciences with dual-use potential. Throughout its almost 50-year history, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) regime has faced many challenges, a majority of which have demanded attention ever since. For example, the problem of universality remains topical. The verification mechanism has not received enough development since 2001. Also, the BTWC regime has to face the inequality of economic, scientific and technological development of the States parties that, altogether with the inequalities in the BTWC implementation experience, makes the regime vulnerable. Amid these long-standing and profound issues new threats continue to emerge, like the erosion of global arms control and disarmament architecture as well as developments in science and technology. Even though States parties to the BTWC agree on the need to establish effective mechanisms for reviewing scientific and technological developments, there is no unanimity in approach or possible format. Moreover, agroterrorism, despite its increased relevance, is not covered properly within the BTWC regime. The list of challenges is extensive, however, there is a larger list of possible measures designed to strengthen this regime. Given that the sustainability of any regime is based on the political will of its members to comply, it is essential to enhance states’ commitments and stimulate their interest through a variety of proposed measures. Joint activities, like the renewal of confidence building measures, addressing risks of bioterrorism, or reviewing scientific and technological developments related to the Convention, in particular, may give the impetus needed.

Keywords: biological safety, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), disarmament, international cooperation, control and monitoring of bio-threats


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For citation:
Zavriev S., Malygina A. Analysis of the Current State of Affairs Around the BTWC: Problems and Their Possible Solutions. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 10, pp. 112-121. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-10-112-121



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