Today, in Geneva, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher spoke to the annual meeting of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention. Under Secretary Tauscher shared President Obama’s new National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats and outlined the broad goals of the strategy. The Under Secretary said:
"First, we will work with the international community to promote the peaceful and beneficial use of life sciences, in accordance with the BWC’s Article Ten, to combat infectious diseases regardless of their cause. We will work to promote global health security by increasing the availability of and access to knowledge and products of the life sciences to help reduce the impact from outbreaks of infectious disease whether of natural, accidental or deliberate origin.
Second, we will work toward establishing and reinforcing norms against the misuse of the life sciences. We need to ensure a culture of responsibility, awareness, and vigilance among all who use and benefit from the life sciences to ensure that they are not diverted to harmful purpose.
Third, we will implement a coordinated approach to influence, identify, inhibit, and interdict those who seek to misuse scientific progress to harm innocent people. We will seek to obtain timely and accurate information on the full spectrum of threats and challenges. This information will allow us to take appropriate actions to manage the evolving risk.
Finally, and most relevant to this body, we want to reinvigorate the Biological Weapons Convention as the premier forum for global outreach and coordination. The Biological Weapons Convention embodies the international community’s determination to prevent the misuse of biological materials as weapons. But it takes the active efforts of its States Parties – individually, and collectively – to uphold these commitments that continue to bolster the BWC as a key international norm.
The United States wants to work to ensure that this is the principal forum dedicated to these issues. We appreciate and applaud this forum’s past efforts, and commit to engaging fully as we work together towards our common goals."Full Text