Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 May 2016
The Fourth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention was held November 25 to December 6, 1996. It successfully re-emphasized the norm against biological warfare, usefully broadening this to include molecular biology and applications resulting from genome studies. It also emphasized that use in any way and under any circumstances would be a violation of Article I. Disappointingly, compliance concerns regarding Iraq and the former Soviet Union were less strongly addressed. Article IV and the importance of national legislation as a potential counter to possible terrorist use was underlined. The importance of the existing confidence-building measures (CBMs) was confirmed and the work of the Ad Hoc Group was strongly endorsed, with a change to a negotiating format being explicitly stated, although without setting the target date of 1998 for completion. Article X was re-emphasized, with special note made of the advances made at the Rio Summit, Agenda 21, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and of the initiatives being taken by the World Health Organization to counter new, emerging, and re-emerging infectious diseases. This article addresses the issues, outcomes, and unfinished business of the Fourth Review Conference.
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