Now in its third decade of delivering cooperative threat reduction assistance, the G7-led Global Partnership
Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction
Newsletter Issue No. 9, October 2022
Now in its third decade of delivering cooperative threat reduction assistance, the G7-ledGlobal Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction(GP) has never wavered from its mission to prevent terrorists, or those that harbour them, from acquiring or developing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons and related materials, equipment, and technology. For twenty years, whenever there have been threats posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – be it nuclear proliferation in Iran or North Korea, chemical weapons use in Syria or biological proliferation events around the world – the 31 member Global Partnership has been there.
Regrettably, the Global Partnership’s work is far from done. New and ever more complex WMD threats continue to emerge, demanding a GP response. Russia has threatened the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, and continues to pursue an aggressive disinformation campaign targeting biological threat reduction measures conducted by members of the Global Partnership. The spectre of further chemical weapons (CW) use continues to hang over all nations, as past use of CW in Syria and by Russia remains unresolved. And a seemingly endless series of outbreaks of high consequence infectious diseases and challenges posed by dual-use research of concern (DURC) heighten the risk of the deliberate use of disease as a weapon. In the face of such serious threats, the Global Partnership remains undaunted and determined to continue to deliver impactful WMD threat reduction programming that will contribute to a safer and more secure world.
Global Partnership Working Group
For the first time in nearly three years, the Global Partnership Working Group (GPWG) convened an in person meeting, coming together in Berlin from October 5-7, 2022. Under the leadership of the Germany Presidency of the G7, the GP community – including member countries, international organisations, civil society and implementing partners – exchanged views on how and where to combat CBRN threats and explored opportunities for collective programing efforts.
Productive sessions were held by the GP’s thematic sub-working groups – the Biological Security Working Group (BSWG), the Chemical Security Working Group, the CBRN Working Group and the Nuclear and Radiological Security Working Group (NRSWG) – with each assessing ongoing work and considering potential new ways and means for the GP to further advance its WMD threat reduction objectives. Partners expressed gratitude to Germany for its leadership of the GP during challenging times, and looked forward to the Japanese Presidency in 2023.
Global Partnership Declaration on Biological Security
On October 7th in Berlin, Germany convened a Global Partnership Conference on Current Biosecurity Challenges. Germany's Minister for Foreign Affairs (Susanne Baumann) delivered an opening statement, recognizing the GP as “a model for successful preventive security policy, even if we will never know how many tragedies have been averted through the actions taken by its partners”. These sentiments were echoed byCanada’s Acting Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs(Cindy Termorshuizen), who called on all GP members and partners to “reinforce our collective commitment to reduce threats posed by biological and other weapons of mass destruction, wherever they arise”.
The Conference issued an important Declaration on Biological Security. These “Berlin Lines of Action” acknowledge persisting and newly emerging biological threats stemming from both state and non-state actors, and include concrete commitments for joint work to mitigate global biological threats, including through:
implementing concrete projects around the world to combat biological-related terrorism and proliferation, guided by the GP’s BiosecurityDeliverables;
acting jointly to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) at the 9th Review Conference, including through establishment of an experts group;
raising awareness on challenges in areas such as dual-use research of concern (DURC) and exploring threat reduction measures in the context of the BTWC and the GP;
ongoing support for GP member Ukraineand collaboration to counter Russian disinformation activities targeting GP threat reduction efforts;
continued GP engagement and investment to strengthen the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism (UNSGM) for Investigation of Alleged Use of Biological Weapons;
United Kingdom contributed £500,000to support the OPCW to fund projects to counter chemical threats, build capacity, and strengthen implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
With support from Canada’s Weapons Threat Reduction Program, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the Global Guidance Framework for the Responsible Use of Life Sciences. The new framework addresses priority health-security challenges, including mitigating biorisks, dual-use research of concern, preventing disinformation and strengthening biorisk management.
The European Union funded the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)country visit to Albaniaandworkshop in Lao PDRto promote implementation of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT).
Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, the World Institute of Nuclear Security (WINS) recently published a report on a method for ensuring sustainable human resources to combat nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control (MORC). Find the report here.
The Global Partnership community supports the development of tools and other resources related to CBRN threat mitigation.
With support from Canada, INTERPOL produced a chemical awareness-raising videothat emphasizes the importance of educating relevant stakeholders to identify early warning indicators of chemical attacks in preparation, and how best to report such cases to the appropriate authorities.
UNODC's eLearning module on ICSANTis a self-paced learning tool examining the key provisions of the Convention and promotes awareness of the need to adhere to ICSANT and incorporate its requirements into national legislation.
The Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi)'s Nowhere to Hide Podcast, weaves together survivor stories and witness testimony to expose the Assad regime's war crimes in Syria.
The "CBW Challenges Radar" is a newsletter from the CBW network for a comprehensive reinforcement of norms against chemical and biological weapons (CBWnet). Subscribe here to stay up-to date.
On December 12, 2022, UNODC will hold a high-level event in Vienna, Austria to mark the 15th Anniversary of the entry into force of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT).
The 9th Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from November 28 to December 16, 2022. Register here.
The 7th World One Health Congress will take place in Singapore from November 7-11, 2022 bringing together experts from around the world to share learnings across diverse disciplines, including biosecurity. Register here.
The 15th Annual Biosafety Conferencewas held virtually from September 21-24, 2022. Topics of discussion range from global biorisk issues to technical scientific knowledge sharing relevant to biosafety professionals in the region.
The 24th International Chemical Weapons Demilitarisation Conference(CWD 2022) was held in London, UK in September 2022. The CWD Conference is organized by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on behalf of the UK's Ministry of Defence, to promote cooperation and collaboration in achieving a future free from chemical weapons.
The Global Health Security Conference (GHS 2022) was held in Singapore from June 28 to July 1, 2022. The Conference launched the "Singapore Statement" setting a clear road map and call to action to enable the creation of solutions to global health security challenges.