1 May 2011

A teachable moment for biological weapons: The Seventh BWC Review Conference and the need for international cooperation in education

Brian Rappert

Brian Rappert is a professor of science, technology, and public affairs in the Department of Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Exeter. His long-term interest has been the examination...

The central goal of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) is, in effect, to prevent the life sciences from becoming the death sciences. The international community is now debating what steps are necessary to achieve this goal. The author recounts recent efforts to engage and educate those associated with the life sciences about their potential destructive applications, and makes the case for the importance of addressing dual-use education as part of the 2011 BWC Review Conference. The BWC is a valuable forum for promoting national and international efforts, and attention to education could, in turn, help strengthen the treaty. Reaching consensus on future international cooperation and milestones for expanding educational efforts is both possible and necessary.