UNIDIR Expert Network on the Governance of Chemical and Biological Weapons

UNIDIR’s Expert Network on the Governance of Chemical and Biological Weapons brings together a diverse set of subject matter experts from around the world to discuss and collaborate in activities designed to prevent the hostile exploitation of chemical and biological weapons.

The network is linked to UNIDIR’s ongoing research project on strengthening the norm against chemical and biological weapons. It provides a platform to explore new ideas related to security and exchange good practices and new thinking around addressing challenges linked to chemical and biological weapons governance.

The network aims to enhance transparency in dual-use chemical and biological research around the globe and feed into a web of measures designed to prohibit and prevent the development and use of chemical and biological weapons. This aim cannot be achieved by any one entity alone. It requires a collective, multilateral and multi-layered effort involving a range of stakeholders from around the world, from the international to the individual.

The network will take stock of past and present chemical and biological security governance initiatives, including discussions around codes of conduct and education, and build an evidence base to inform the development of future measures, including through insights into lessons learned from these instruments.

The strategic activities of the network include a series of ad-hoc workshops providing a forum for sharing and discussing research findings, testing methodologies and exploring opportunities for collaboration among the network members. Its key responsibilities include:

  1. Fostering discussion around some of the specific regional or national challenges in developing, implementing and sustaining governance initiatives.
  2. Sharing best practices on ways to promulgate and promote governance-related initiatives with a view to informing and influencing scientific research communities around the world.
  3. Feeding findings into international processes including the Biological Weapons Convention Working Group and the WHO Technical Advisory Group.

Expected outcomes

The network intends to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Broaden and deepen the communities of practice engaged in enhancing the chemical and biological weapons regime
  2. Draw on this network to co-produce and socialize technically and politically feasible approaches to enhancing transparency

Underlying this approach is the core objective of using evidence-based mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of deliberate weaponization of biology and chemistry.