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Negotiating Measures to Manage Biological Risks: The Need for New Thinking and New Approaches

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This essay considers the difficulties confronting the international community in addressing the challenge of biological weapons through multilateral negotiations. After a brief review of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, the article addresses four categories of factors that help understand the relative lack of success: those related to the structure and conduct of the negotiating process, those stemming from the unique nature of the life sciences, those associated with domestic political dynamics in the United States, and those associated with changes in the structure and dynamics of the international system. It closes with reflections on how the international community can embed negotiations in a broader strategy for bolstering capabilities to manage the security risks related to the advances of the life sciences and related technology.


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