International Unit is Underappreciated Tool in Fight Against Bio-Terror

International Unit is Underappreciated Tool in Fight Against Bio-Terror

During the past year, the Implementation Support Unit (ISU), established by the Sixth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in December 2006, has provided essential support for international efforts to prevent biological terrorism.

Unlike the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the BTWC lacks the large institutional structure to help administer convention-related activities as well as monitor and enforce compliance with its provisions. The three-person ISU, which started work in April 2007 and became fully operational in August 2007, attempts to help fill that gap from its office at the Geneva branch of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA). The ISU, like the meetings it supports and other BTWC activities, is funded by the state parties to the convention.

The ISU's administrative responsibilities include managing the logistics for BTWC meetings (which normally take place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva), conducting research on issues related to biological weapons, and managing a Web site devoted to BTWC-related activities.

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