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Malcolm Dando

Articles by Malcolm Dando

22 October 2014
AmericasAsiaEurope/RussiaMiddle East

The incapacitating chemical agents loophole

Michael CrowleyMalcolm Dando

Why the international community should focus on incapacitating chemical agents—aka knockout gas—at the upcoming Chemical Weapons Convention conference

27 September 2012

Getting to bioweapons consensus

Malcolm DandoKathryn NixdorffAlexander Kelle

At the Seventh Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Review Conference in Geneva last December, the treaty's 165 member states agreed to a new intersessional process of work to be done in preparation for the next such conference, in 2016. This new process retained the limited aim ("to discuss, and promote common understanding and effective action") of the previous two intersessional processes, but it did restructure the convention's annual meeting of experts and state parties within the process.

9 January 2012

Biological indecision

Malcolm Dando

The December 2011 Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in Geneva was widely expected to significantly strengthen international measures in the prohibition regime against weapons of mass destruction. After all, the review came after a series of constructive annual meetings in the second Intersessional Process (ISP) -- the meetings and actions taken throughout the five years between each review conference -- from 2007 to 2010 as well as in a number of meetings held over the last couple of years in different parts of the world.

1 December 2011

Dealing with advances in science at the Seventh BTWC Review Conference

Malcolm Dando

Ahead of the Seventh Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) Review Conference, which will be held December 5-22 in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations published 26 advance papers produced by state parties to inspire serious and spirited discussion for the event -- and at least six of these papers focused on how advances in science and technology impact the BTWC and how, in the future, these advances should be considered by the stat

1 November 2011

Educating the life scientists

Malcolm Dando

There are increasing signs that state parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) realize that the lack of biosecurity awareness and education among life scientists represents a serious gap in the overall web of policies designed to prevent bioterrorism and biowarfare. Without such awareness and education, how can practicing life scientists contribute their expertise to the development and implementation of oversight systems and codes of conduct necessary to protect benignly intended work from hostile misuse?

18 October 2011

What the fight against disease can teach the biological weapons community

Malcolm Dando

On September 10, 2011, the London Observer newspaper carried a long, affectionate portrait of former US President Jimmy Carter. The author wrote of Carter's life before, during, and after his presidency -- noting approvingly, for example, that Carter didn't start any wars while in office. But my attention was drawn to some of the work Carter embarked on with the Carter Center after he left office.

18 July 2011

An auspicious moment for the BWC Review Conference?

Malcolm Dando

As I endeavored to write a positive take on the prospects for the upcoming Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in December, the proverb "There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip" kept coming to mind. In other words, a lot could still go wrong in December. Perhaps it's the history of the near-death experience of the Convention in the 2001-2002 Fifth Review Conference, or maybe it's the Convention's existence on the intersessional process (ISP) life-support system of 2003-2005 and 2007-2010.

13 May 2011

Science, technology, and the bioweapons treaty

Malcolm Dando

If one listened closely to the discussions around the recent meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the upcoming review of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), one might have heard a distant rumble of concern. These worries stem from the widespread recognition that advances in the life sciences are progressing at a rate faster than the treaty seems able to keep pace with.

27 February 2011

Did we make a huge mistake over dual use?

Malcolm Dando

Given the amount of space they occupy in newspapers, I cannot be the only person fascinated by obituaries. I enjoy reading about real people, their accomplishments, and the different worlds they inhabited. This pastime has led to new discoveries for me -- most recently the works of late historian John Burrow.

17 January 2011

More talk, better security: The need for wider debate on strengthening the BWC

Malcolm Dando

There is an old joke that always makes me smile. It goes something like this:

A visitor to Ireland was in Cork and needed to get to Dublin quickly, so he asked a local what the best way to drive was. The answer came back after a short pause for thought: "If I was going to Dublin, I wouldn't start from here."

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