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

6 BIOSECURITY AND THE RULE OF LAW

I. INTRODUCTION

The rise of biosecurity as a policy concern tells the tale of the rise and fall of various rules designed to protect against biological weapons or naturally occurring infectious diseases. Previous chapters have, for example, analyzed what the emergence of biosecurity has meant for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the International Health Regulations (IHR). In addition, the development of biosecurity has stimulated attention on new types of rules to replace or supplement traditional strategies.

To this point, we have examined these rules-based issues in the context of the new worlds of biological weapons and public health governance. The frequency with which biosecurity connects to various domestic and international rules raises the third challenge of biosecurity identified in Chapter 1— embedding biosecurity in the rule of law. This challenge is, however, of deeper significance than understanding that biosecurity affects rules of domestic or international law.

This chapter focuses on the challenge of embedding biosecurity in the rule of law. Our identification of the rule of law as normatively and practically critical indicates that we believe that biosecurity should, as much as possible, be achieved within the rule of law. The rule of law approach provides a framework for contributing to integrating security and public health, supervising science for biosecurity, and crafting globalized governance on biosecurity threats. Achieving biosecurity under the rule of law represents a difficult challenge, especially given the need to globalize governance for biosecurity.

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