Projects / Past Projects

The role of non-state actors in promoting nonproliferation and arms control efforts against biological weapons

Project Period: 2007 - 2009
Funding: Rijksbankens Jubileumsfond under the Joint Programme „European Foreign and Security Policy Studies”
Project officer: Nicolas Isla

The current state-centred approach to preventing the proliferation and development of biological weapons is limited and has failed to provide confidence in the full implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Potentially misusable biotechnological activities are being undertaken in ever greater number of public and private laboratories all over the world. However, non-state actors continue to play virtually no role in the multilateral efforts to promote nonproliferation and arms control. This project examined the influence non-state actors – UN organisations and international regimes, private global players such as multinational companies, and civil society organisations – have exerted thus far in state to state negotiations on biological arms control, the role they have played in other control mechanisms for biological weapons, and their success in promoting arms control and nonproliferation in other arenas, such as the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In parallel, existing and proposed control mechanisms for biological weapons were analysed as to their suitability for non-state actor involvement.