Conclusion of ILPI’s WMD Project

All good things come to an end. In December 2016, after five exciting years, the Arms and Disarmament Team at ILPI concluded the Weapons of Mass Destruction Project.

We very much appreciate having had the opportunity to contribute to the thinking and policy development in the field of WMDs over the past years, and are grateful to our partners in governments, international organisations, civil society and academia for their generous support and active participation in our meetings and research activities.

All publications produced over the past five years will continue to be available on the ILPI WMD project website.

The Birth of a Treaty

A brief overview of mandates and models for negotiating multilateral agreements in the field of arms and disarmament

By ILPI
December 2016

Introduction

In December 2016, a majority of the UN Member States voted to start a process of negotiation to prohibit nuclear weapons. By adopting resolution L.41, the United Nations General Assembly decided to “convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.[1]

Chemical weapons and law enforcement under international law

An overview of the legal status of chemical weapons: prohibitions, obligations and exceptions.

By ILPI*
December 2016

 

The use of chemical weapons is subject to comprehensive prohibitions under international law. Not only is the use of chemical weapons implicitly prohibited by the general rule of distinction under international humanitarian law (IHL), most imaginable uses of chemical weapons would contravene the proportionality rule under human rights law.

New edition of ‘Counting to zero’

A statistical guide to multilateral disarmament and arms control

By ILPI

This report is motivated by the need for an accurate and methodical mapping of how the members and observers of the United Nations approach non-proliferation and disarmament in the context of humanitarian disarmament.

One night in Bangkok

An overview of the history and politics of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in Southeast Asia.

By ILPI
23 November 2016

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This article provides an overview of the history and politics of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts in Southeast Asia, exploring, in particular, the establishment of the Southeast Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone (SEANWFZ). The paper also considers the role of Southeast Asian states in the humanitarian discourse on nuclear disarmament and in international efforts to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

Implications of a nuclear weapons ban treaty for Japan

Japan—both a nuclear umbrella state and the only country to have suffered attacks by nuclear weapons—will be facing some very difficult decisions as the process towards a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons moves forward.

By Nobuo Hayashi  and Hirofumi Tosaki 
November 2016

On 27 October 2016, the UN General Assembly’s First Committee voted to commence negotiations in 2017 for the adoption of a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons. This latest development in the movement known as the “Humanitarian Initiative” comes at a time when the divide between the proponents and opponents of a nuclear weapons ban has become increasingly entrenched.

21st century biodefence: Risks, trade-offs & responsible science

The dramatic increase in the number of laboratories and scientists working on dangerous pathogens and toxins has exacerbated safety and security risks

By Gregory Koblentz and Filippa Lentzos
  • There has been a dramatic increase in biodefence activities and in the number of facilities and researchers working with dangerous pathogens around the world.
  • This has generated a number of trade-offs, risks related to safety, security, responsible science and transparency.
  • The 2016 BWC Review Conference must encourage states to implement stringent national biosafety, biosecurity and dual-use research regulations; task the science advisory group to develop clear, internationally-recognised guidelines governing dual-use research of concern (DURC); establish a working group to revise the CBMs; and encourage states to participate in the CBM mechanism as well as more interactive information exchanges such as peer review and compliance assessment.

Keeping up with the scientists

To protect and implement the BWC, states parties must improve the framework for reviewing developments in science and technology

By Caitriona McLeish and James Revill
  • Science and technology (S&T) of relevance to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is advancing rapidly. Such developments have both positive and negative implications for the implementation of a number of the provisions of the BWC.
  • While science and technology reviews have been integrated into the overall BWC review process, their utility has been limited.
  • There is significant support for enhancing science and technology reviews, but differences remain over the details.
  • States parties need to develop a shared understanding of what they want science and technology reviews to achieve, and then determine the best framework to meet that objective.