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The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention

Author(s) : P.D. Millett

Summary :

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use of microbial or other biological agents, or toxins in a manner which has no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes. It also bans weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict. It covers biological and toxin weapons against humans, animals and plants. This article provides a brief history of the Convention and presents an overview of its five Review Conferences; the ‘Ad Hoc Group of Governmental Experts, open to all States Parties, to Identify and Examine Potential Verification Measures from a Scientific and Technical Standpoint’ (usually referred to as VEREX); and efforts to develop a legally binding instrument to strengthen the Convention, as well as the annual meetings of experts and States Parties which have taken place over the last three years. Issues of particular relevance to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) are highlighted throughout, demonstrating their longstanding and fruitful contributions to ensuring that veterinary science is used only for the benefit of mankind.

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