Hard to prove: The verification quandary of the biological weapons convention

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How can compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) best be ensured? The verification quandary-the difficulty in providing a high level of assurance that each state party is fully complying with its treaty obligations-has troubled the BWC since its inception in 1972. This article considers past difficulties in negotiating compliance monitoring provisions-such as states' views on inspection procedures-and lays out short-, medium-, and long-term strategies to tackle what has been a very divisive issue. It argues that state parties should undertake conceptual discussions to develop common understandings on the most effective mechanisms to enhance compliance with the treaty, and that it will ultimately be up to state parties to demonstrate the political will necessary to develop measures to strengthen the BWC through effective compliance monitoring and verification measures, either through a new legally binding instrument or through building and augmenting existing provisions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)571-582
Number of pages12
JournalThe Nonproliferation Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011


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