US issues biological weapons’ danger warning at UN meeting
American arms control chief says Biological Weapons Convention ignored for 2 decades while threats are severe, growing
The US told the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs on Monday that a global biological weapons threat is real, serious and growing as some states have sophisticated, well-established programs, while non-state actors are acquiring capabilities.
US Under Secretary for Arms Control Bonnie Denise Jenkins said at the opening of the four-day meeting in Geneva that the Biological Weapons Convention is one of the critical international security agreements that guard the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
“For the past two decades, efforts to strengthen the Convention have been treading water,” said Jenkins.
“Useful discussions” at the disarmament office had led to minor steps at the national level, while states had been unable to agree on more significant action.
She said the widespread availability of sophisticated scientific and technological tools and methods is gradually eroding barriers to the development of biological weapons.
“While COVID-19 was not the result of a biological weapon, the pandemic is a wake-up call for all of us,” she said.
Jenkins said while there are unprecedented efforts to strengthen international health security, the world needs to address the latest challenge.
“To do so, we must strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention,” she said.
“We must take action to ensure that the Convention can effectively address the challenges we face now and in the future.”
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