Biosecurity in the Global Age: Biological Weapons, Public Health, and the Rule of Law

By David P. Fidler; Lawrence O. Gostin | Go to book overview

3
THE NEW WORLD OF
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS GOVERNANCE

I. INTRODUCTION

Through the sound and fury in the debate over the problem of biological weapons one item of consensus stands out. Everyone appears to agree that the next phase of governing biological weapons will differ from the traditional arms control approach. This chapter explores emerging features of the new world of biological weapons governance. We argue that four governance trends characterize this new environment: criminalization of biological weapons development and use, regulation of the biological sciences, management of the imperative of biodefense, and public health preparedness and response. We maintain that these trends are not policy fads but represent adjustments to deeper, structural transformations in the policy context affecting biological weapons.

These four trends individually and collectively highlight the four key challenges we identified in Chapter 1 that define biosecurity governance in the twenty-first century. The trends illustrate the normative importance of integrating security and public health, supervising science for biosecurity, embedding biosecurity policy in the rule of law, and globalizing biosecurity governance. This chapter also exposes the complexities and difficulties of achieving these objectives in the emerging political and scientific environment of twenty-first-century biosecurity.

We begin by providing an overview of the four governance trends and how these trends affect the traditional arms control approach embodied in the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). We then devote sections to each of

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