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Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force

Preventing and Responding to Chemical and Bio-Weapons Terrorist Attack

Activities

Project Status

A report on coordination and collaboration in an event of a terrorist attack using chemical and biological materials with key recommendations has been produced.

Workshop held in the Hague

CTITF held a workshop hosted by the OPCW in the Hague, Holland in May 2011. The workshop was part of the CTITF project to carry out a comprehensive review on how the UN system and international organizations would respond to a chemical or biological terrorist attack.

Workshop Report

Overview

This Project is part of a wider initiative promoted by the CTITF Working Group on Preventing and Responding to WMD attacks to carry out a comprehensive review of how the UN system and international organizations from different disciplines would respond, individually and as a whole, to a terrorist use of chemical and biological weapons or materials, as well as the level of planned coordination among the different entities in the rapid provision of assistance to the affected State/States.

The Working Group has found that although existing mechanisms for dealing with radiation emergencies both from individual agencies and through integrated inter-agency cooperation are well established, they may not necessarily be well understood by all entities within the UN system. The Working Group aims to facilitate an exchange of knowledge, better understanding and experience-sharing of current activities and plans already in place by relevant international organisations and UN entities in the response to, and mitigation of, a terrorist use of chemical, biological and toxin weapons or materials. This will be aimed at increasing the level of planned coordination among the different entities in the rapid provision of assistance to the State/States affected by such a terrorist use of chemical, biological and toxin weapons or materials, by means of increased knowledge of tasks assigned to each organisation within the UN system and better understanding on possible ways to organise an integrated and harmonized response.

Project Chemical and Bio-Weapons

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The core objective is to build new modes of cooperation and sustainable synergies among relevant stakeholders and actors in the field of counter-terrorism to address the growing risks associated with the terrorism, including the governments, the related industries, scientific institutions and international organisations and partners.

Enhancing chemical and biological security culture will provide greater assurance that the national chemical and biological security systems will accomplish their functions of preventing, detecting and responding to, theft, sabotage, unauthorized access, illegal transfer of chemical material and bio-agents and the associated facilities and transport.

The project will initiate discussions among the stakeholders how the world can adapt to the new security environment and to the changes that are occurring in science, technology, and the industry, especially in regard to new challenges and threats related to terrorism with Weapons of Mass Destruction and emerging synergies between biology and chemistry and development of biochemistry.

This project will help developing stakeholder relations and at the same time adapt the CWC implementation processes to evolving security (and other) challenges. In addtion, such a project could open avenues for future directions in the OPCW international cooperation programs under Article XI of the CWC. As appropriate, the project could mirror experiences with programs regarding nuclear safety and security of the IAEA. It would also echo trends the BTWC implementation process with regard to coupling biosafety and biosecurity and addressing them as an integral part of BTWC implementation.

A report has been produced on inter-agency coordination in the event of a terrorist attack using chemical or biological weapons or materials.