Developments and trends 2004
The threat of biological and chemical weapons and related materials and technology falling into the hands of terrorists continued to concern the international community. Calls for further strengthening the BWC and the CWC continued, as did efforts by States parties to implement national measures that would respond to those calls. In April, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1540 (2004) calling on all States to adopt and implement effective measures, including export controls, to prevent non-State access to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery.1
In line with the decision taken at the Fifth Review Conference of the States parties to the BWC on a new process to strengthen the implementation and effectiveness of the Convention leading up to the Sixth Review Conference in 2006, the second Meeting of Experts from States parties to the BWC and the second Meeting of the States parties to the BWC were held in Geneva in July and December, respectively.
In the absence of an international organization to monitor and implement the BWC, the World Health Organization (WHO) offered assistance and advice on possible situations involving the deliberate use of biological agents that affect health. Through resolution WHA55.16 of 18 May 2002,2
WHO Member States requested the Organization's Director-General to strengthen activities on global public health preparedness and response to deliberate use of biological and chemical agents or radionuclear material that affect health. The WHO Inter-cluster working group on preparedness and response to natural occurrence, accidental release or deliberate use of biological and chemical agents or radionuclear materials that affect health was established to improve coordination among all relevant activities related to resolution WHA55.16 both at WHO headquarters and regional offices. In 2004, WHO also revised and published "The public health response to biological and chemical weapons: WHO guidance." This second edition of WHOs 1970 publication "Health aspects of biological and chemical weapons" includes information designed to guide preparedness for and response to the deliberate use of biological and chemical agents that affect health.
Progress continued in the implementation of the CWC. By late 2004, approximately 10,048 metric tonnes of chemical-warfare agents, more than 14.3 per cent of the total declared stockpiles of six known chemical weapons possessor States parties had been destroyed under OPCW verification. Nine additional States ratified or acceded to the Convention bringing its total to 167 States parties covering approximately 90 per cent of the world's chemical industry. The Ninth Session of the Conference of States Parties to the CWC further reaffirmed the objectives of the 2003 Action Plans on national implementation and universality of the Convention.
UNMOVIC continued to conduct off-site assessment of the status of sites subject to monitoring that were damaged during the war in Iraq and continued its work on producing a compendium of Iraq's proscribed weapons and programmes with an emphasis on lessons learned. The Commission continued to operate under the assumption that the possibility of future redeployment to Iraq and other ongoing work necessitated a sustained level of readiness to resume its operations there.
The Australia Group stepped up its efforts to strengthen national export control over dual-use biological and chemical agents and equipment. Five new members also joined the Group.
For more information on resolution 1540, see chapter I of this volume.
World Health Assembly resolution WHA55.16 "Global public health response to natural occurrence, accidental release or deliberate use of biological and chemical agents or radionuclear material that affect health", 18 May 2002.Available from http:/www.who/int/gb. See also United Nations Disarmament Yearbook
, vol.27:2002, chapter II, 77 (United Nations Publication, Sales No. E. 03.IX.1).