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Sunday, August 22, 2010

International Experts to Discuss Biological Weapons Use, Preparedness Friday, Aug. 20, 2010 By Martin Matishak

Global Security Newswire

A mock victim of a biological terror strike is passed through a decontamination unit during a 2006 exercise in California. Experts from Biological Weapons Convention member nations are set to meet next week in Geneva, Switzerland, to address bioreadiness efforts (Robyn Beck/Getty Images).

WASHINGTON -- Law enforcement and public health experts from around the globe will gather next week in Switzerland to discuss the potential use of biological weapons and how nations can improve their preparedness to respond to intentional or natural disease outbreaks (see GSN, Aug. 10).

Specialists from roughly 100 of the Biological Weapons Convention's member states are expected in Geneva for a four-day meeting beginning Monday.

The meeting is part of the "intersessional process" conducted between the convention's review conferences held every five years. This year's discussion is "perhaps the most lively" in years because "it combines both the peaceful side -- developing public health capacity, disease surveillance and so on -- with the very hard-edged security side that is responding to actual use of a biological weapon," Richard Lennane, head of the treaty's Implementation Support Unit, said last week in a telephone interview.

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