Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction
Newsletter #3 - March 2021
On 11 March 2021, the world marked the one year anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic. Given the devastating global impacts of COVID-19 – which include more than 2.5 million dead, 400 million jobs lost and a forecast of $28 trillion in economic damage by 2025 - there are heightened concerns that terrorist groups and certain states could be incentivized to turn to biological or other weapons and materials of mass destruction. In this context, the work of the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction to prevent the proliferation and use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons and related materials remains critical for the maintenance of global peace and security.
Notwithstanding the many daunting challenges posed by the pandemic, Global Partnership (GP) member countries continue to deliver a wide range of impactful programming across the entire CBRN threat reduction spectrum. As outlined in the GP’s annual Programming Annex, in 2020 a total of 245 Projects valued at US$669 million (or €555 million) were implemented by GP Members in dozens of countries in every region of the world. Many additional contributions were measured not by financial means, but by the leadership and diplomatic efforts of members in the areas of threat reduction or non-proliferation. The magnitude of this collective contribution underscores why the Global Partnership remains the premier global mechanism for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat reduction programming and capacity building assistance to prevent, detect and respond to CBRN proliferation and incidents.
A Message from the United Kingdom – 2021 GP President
In the two decades since its establishment at the 2002 Kananaskis Summit, the G7-led Global Partnership has been the primary international mechanism for coordinating WMD threat reduction programmes. The GP continues to address the serious challenges, regionally and globally, from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. The G7 group rotates its chair annually. In 2021, the UK will chair the G7 and the Global Partnership... read more about UK plans and priorities for 2021.
Feature Articles: INTERPOL
INTERPOL's Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Unit (RNTPU) strives to support the development of an informed, capable, and globally connected law enforcement community that is able to counter and investigate radioactive material criminality from malicious non-state actors. In this Feature Article, learn how the RNTPU uses intelligence sharing, investigative support to national law enforcement and the delivery of capacity-building training to member countries to build global law enforcement nuclear incident response readiness in a rapidly changing radiological and nuclear security architecture.
Advances in life sciences research and technologies are transforming global health, but this research (as well as emerging technologies) can pose risks if misused, either inadvertently or deliberately. Through support for the development of research oversight mechanisms, frameworks and policies, professional codes of conduct, and awareness-raising campaigns, the Global Partnership is actively working to prevent the misappropriation of life-science research. Learn more about ongoing efforts in collaboration with the World Health Organization to limit the risks of Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) and promote global biosecurity.
The Global Partnership is now on Twitter. Follow us at @GPWMDOfficial.
In the newRoadmap for a Renewed Canada-U.S. Partnership(23 February 2021), Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and United States President Biden “recognized the importance of urgent global action to advance health security, counter biological threats, and prevent the next pandemic and agreed to leverage existing pandemic preparedness arrangements and platforms, such as … the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction”. The Roadmap highlights key GP priorities, including:
the development and use of swift, effective, transparent, and independent means for investigating outbreaks;
the importance of a robust global response and partnership with regional organizations, such as the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, to build health security capacity for the future; and
the importance of countering biological threats, whether naturally occurring, deliberate, or accidental and advancing policies and practices domestically and through health, foreign assistance, and threat reduction programs to improve biosafety, biosecurity, and biological norms for mitigating biological risks associated with life sciences research and biotechnology advances.
The United Kingdom’s newly released Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (March 2021), which highlights the importance of strengthening global arms control, disarmament and counter-proliferation, recognizes the Global Partnership as a key mechanism to counter proliferation and reduce the risk of terrorist acquisition of biological agents.
The UK International Biosecurity Programme has agreed to fund activities implemented by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to support the initial stages of the Global Partnership Signature Initiative to Mitigate Biological Threats in Africa:
Laboratory Twinning Feedback Workshop for Africa, which will assess the impact of the OIE Lab Twinning Program in Africa, highlight current gaps in animal laboratory capabilities and recommend projects to prospective donors;
The most recent edition of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s Panorama Magazine included an article on A Global Partnership to Mitigate Biological Threats, which highlighted collaboration between the OIE and Global Partnership at the health−security interface to prevent, detect and respond to all manner of infectious disease threats.
With support from GP member Czech Republic, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) delivered training to the South African Development Community on identification of and response to hazardous chemical incidents (2-3 March, 2021). This training was attended by 24 professionals from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
With support from Canada and Germany, the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) released its groundbreaking report The Last Straw, which highlights the disproportionate impact that chemical weapons have on women and girls. The report includes the most comprehensive dataset on chemical attacks to-date in Syria. GPPi will present on this important work as part of a panel discussion on Women and Accountability in Syria: Closing the Gender Information & Participation Gap (26th March 15:00-16:00 CET) during the Fifth Brussels Conference on Supporting the future of Syria and the Region. No need to register – you can join by clicking this Zoom link.
On 27 January 2021, G7 Foreign Ministers released a statement on the arrest and detention of Alexei Navalny. G7 Ministers recalled “their condemnation, in the strongest possible terms, of the poisoning of Mr Navalny in August 2020 with a chemical nerve-agent of the “Novichok” group, a substance developed by Russia and … reiterate[d] that any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and contravenes international norms against the use of such weapons”.
A webinar on "Vulnerabilities of Material Transport on Road and Other Modes of Transport" was delivered by The Global Congress on Chemical Security & Emerging Threats on March 11th, 2021.This initiative is jointly-led by INTERPOL, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Follow @GPWMDofficial and @INTERPOL_CBRNE to be notified of future events.
The Global Partnership community supports the development of tools and other resourcesrelated to CBRN threat mitigation. Recent additions include:
With support from Canada's Weapons Threat Reduction Program, the United States Biosecurity Engagement Program and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the World Health Organization issued The 4th edition of its Laboratory Biosafety Manual (LBM4). The LBM4, which was developed to accommodate diverse interests and resource levels, addresses issues such as: risk assessments; laboratory design and maintenance; biological safety cabinets and other primary containment device; personal protective equipment; decontamination and waste management; biosafety programme management; and outbreak preparedness and resilience.
Denmark’s Centre for Biosecurity and Biopreparedness has issued the latest edition of its quarterly newsletter, Biosecurity Insight. This edition includes feature articles on Biological substances with weapons relevance, The challenges of new generation benchtop DNA synthesizers from a biosecurity perspective, International biosecurity collaboration is vital and The Czech attempt to use biological weapons against Nazi-Germany. Subscribe hereto never miss an issue.