Carl-Friedrich von Weizsäcker Centre for Science and Peace Research
Research Group for Biological Arms Control
Beim Schlump 83
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The concept of a global trade monitoring for bio-weapons relevant items that was developed during the project was found to be technically feasible. The political framework for its implementation was identified and first steps are being done to introduce the concept to the political process. Facing the failure of a verification protocol to the bio weapons convention in 2001, the aim of the project was the development of an instrument to make the international trade with biological dual-use goods transparent. Schemes for the construction of such an instrument were taken from different international treaty organisations whose mandates include the control of trade with certain items or substances. Trade monitoring systems aim to illuminate tradeflows without necessarily relying on a licensing system. In many cases the investigated monitoring systems use the so called Harmonized System (HS) maintained by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) for items identification. During the project a number of staff in international organisations and suppliers of biotechnology were interviewed to evaluate avenues for adjustments to the HS in order to make a biological trade monitoring feasible. Important results are that a biological trade monitoring is technically implementable. Experts in the WCO as well as in German customs authorities, concerned ministries and companies find a trade monitoring to be a proper instrument to face the deficits in identifying BW-relevant trade. Accordingly the Research Group for Biological Arms Control has in August 2007 proposed a detailed items list to the WCO to amend the HS-code. In connection with the reported project a workshop is planned for February to inform decision makers about the proposal some weeks before it is discussed in the WCO-bodies. The concept was presented to experts and diplomats in a number of publications and talks. Also during the project the European non-proliferation policy was evaluated under the question how consistent and coherent it is particularly concerning the policies towards weapons of mass destruction and what political framework is provided for biological arms control.
Gunnar Jeremias is a PhD candidate at Hamburg University. He has a diploma (MA) in political sciences, a post gradual MA in Peace and Security Studies and some working experience at NGOs. Currently Gunnar is a research fellow at the Research Group on Biological Arms Control and concerned with the further conceptualisation and political development of the trade monitoring for bio weapons related items.