A week ahead of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Working Group meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, NTI | bio convened a workshop on “Disincentivizing State Bioweapons Development and Use.” This two-day workshop on November 29 and 30 brought together academics, diplomats, biosecurity experts, and government policymakers to begin developing a cross-disciplinary thought and practice community to explore and develop potential disincentivizing solutions. Current thinking and policy on disincentivizing bioweapons acquisition and use is underdeveloped—especially by comparison with the nuclear security field.
“We launched this effort because we see the need for more rigorous thinking on effective approaches to making bioweapons unattractive to nation-states,” said NTI | bio Vice President Jaime Yassif. “NTI’s goal is to bridge theory and practical policy-relevant approaches to develop new ideas that can invigorate international efforts to reduce biological threats.”
The workshop aimed to:
- Invigorate consideration of theoretical and practical approaches to disincentivizing bioweapons development, acquisition, and use;
- Explore options to enhance transparency for bioscience research and development, in order to improve confidence in BWC compliance and reduce the risk of misperceptions
- Identify ways to bolster national and international capacities to attribute biological events to their source
- Investigate how to strengthen accountability for violations of the the BWC, which embodies the international norm against bioweapons development and use
- Build a lasting intellectual community of experts and practitioners focused on disincentivizing bioweapons
“This initiative is important because policy solutions to knotty problems like bioweapons proliferation do not develop in isolation,” said NTI | bio Senior Director Nathan A. Paxton. “Failure to think deeply and analytically about complex challenges can prevent the emergence of effective solutions. Establishing a strong community that has the time and resources to examine the range of current and future threats and develop forward-leaning solutions is critical.”
Learn more about NTI | bio’s work to reduce biological risks here.