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Biodefense Policy, Questionnaire Example

Pages: 3

Words: 838

Questionnaire

 QUESTION 1: Biological Weapons Convention – Where are We?

“Convention allows States and entities to make declarations or statements regarding its application at the time of signing, ratifying or acceding to the Convention, which do not purport to exclude or modify the legal effect of the provisions of the Convention.(UNODA(a), 2013)”   The Heads of State, Heads of Government and Minister for Foreign Affairs are able to sign the treaty for the State, as well as other representation issued by one of the State Authorities.  In order to become a party for the Convention, the State must exemplify its willingness to adhere to the legal rights within the Convention and Protocol.  Signing the treaty is subject to ratification, which is when the State becomes legally bound by the treaty.  (UNODA(b), 2013)

The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), was opened for signature on April 10, 1972 and entered into force on March 26, 1975.  This was the first treaty banning the development, production and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction.  The BWC met again in 1986 and agreed to add in some confidence-building measures (CBM) in decrease any uncertainties and suspicions.  This meeting was to reinsure and help improve the peace and co-operation of biological warfare.  A third conference was held in 1991 in which it was decided that the State Parties would provide annual reports for activities related to the BWC, such as data from research, information on vaccination production, data from biological defense programs, data from infectious disease outbreaks, recent publications, and any information on regulations and legislations.  In 1996, there was a fourth review conference in which the Ad Hoc Group took part. The conference during1996 reaffirmed the importance of the elements that were reviewed in the declaration of the second review conference; however, the Ad Hoc Group was not able to come to a conclusion for the negotiations of the protocol.  In 2001, therefore, a fifth review was established and reconvened in Geneva in 2002.  During this review, a decision was made to hold annual meetings of the State parties leading up to the next review that would be held in 2006.  In 2006, the State parties devised a plan for universal adherence, as well as updates to the procedures for submitting documents. During the Sixth conference the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) was also established.  This Unit helps State parties with introducing and implementing the Convention.  A latest Review, December 2011, reaffirmed the previous Reviews; however, the Review also detailed a strategy and database system to help with requests in implementing assistance for cooperation of the Convention.  In addition, the implementation of scholarship programs to help assist the participation in the Reviews.  (UNODA(c), 2013)

Overall, the conferences are held in order to confirm the conventions on biological warfare; however, the review conferences also cover the scientific and technological research areas of the convention.  For instance, the second, third and fourth review conferences were held to discuss issues arising from scientific and technological developments in the field of genetic engineering, biotechnology and microbiology, and their use towards the purposes inconsistent with the provisions in the Convention.  The review conference therefore reaffirmed the convention and supplemented a list for scientific and technological development.   The Sixth and Seventh Review reaffirmed the list for these developments.  In addition, during the Third and Fourth Review Conferences, the State Parties appealed to support the justification for the research and development of activities that were for prophylactic, protective and peaceful purposes only.  (BWC, 2012)

QUESTION 2: Project Bioshield

Congress passed the Project BioShield Act (P.L. 108-276) in 2004, in order to provide new authorization related to the development or use of medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism.  In this post, the permitting emergency use of countermeasures that are either unapproved or have not been approved for the intended emergency use is discussed.  From this Act, a the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) program was established in order for the FDA Commissioner to authorize the use of unapproved medical products or use of the product during a declared emergency or attach on U.S. military forces.  This Act is a good preventative and helpful measure and is important for emergency responses.  The allowance of this BioShield Act, ensures that there is current up-to-date research and availability for public health officials to act on emergency responses and countermeasure attacks, such as detect preventing and treating infectious diseases.  Without this Act treatment and prevention for outbreaks such as the H1N1 or Anthrax would be unavailable.  (Institute of Medicine (US) Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events, 2010)

References

BWC. (2012).  Additional agreements reached by previous Review Conferences relating to each article of the Convention. Retrieved from: http://www.unog.ch/80256EDD006B8954/(httpAssets)/EBB7A76E3DC19651C1257B6D003A0028/$file/BWC%20&%20Additional%20Agreements%20Post%207RC.pdf

Institute of Medicine (US) Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events. (2010).  Medical Countermeasures Dispensing: Emergency Use Authorization and the Postal Model, Workshop Summary. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53122/

UNODA (a). (2013).  Declarations and statements http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_declarations.htm

UNODA(b). (2013).  Chapter Four: Becoming a party to the Convention and the Optional Protocol. Retrieved from: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=231

UNODA(c). (2013). The Biological Weapons Convention. Retrieved from: http://www.un.org/disarmament/WMD/Bio/Fourth_Review.shtml

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