Disarmament

BMUN 5 Disarmament Committee Briefing Sheet

The Question of Combating Bioterrorism

DEFINITION

A bioterrorism attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs (agents) used to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants.  These agents are typically found in nature, but it is possible that they could be changed to increase their ability to cause disease, make them resistant to current medicines, or to increase their ability to spread in the environment.

INTRODUCTION

  • Terrorism involving biological agents dates as far back as Ancient Rome, but over time biological warfare developed and became more complex as nations began to develop weapons such as the anthrax
  • Some bioterrors involved political and ideological factors such as the Rajneeshee bioterror attack in 1984 (USA), infecting 751 people with severe food poisoning – this incident was first known bioterrorist attack in the US
  • Since the anthrax attack in September 11, 2001 – the US Congress passed several laws to better prepare the nation that affect the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  In particular, on June 12, 2002 the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (Bioterrorism Act) was signed into law by President Bush
  • The U.N. General Assembly adopted a Global Counterterrorism Strategy in September 2006 in accordance with a mandate from the 2005 World Summit and the recommendations of Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his 2006 report “Uniting Against Terrorism”.

BIOLOGICAL AGENTS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a list of critical biological agents in 2000, where they are divided into three categories:

Category A agents:

  • Can be easily disseminated or transmitted person-to-person
  • Cause high mortality with potential for major public health impact
  • Might cause public panic and social disruption
  • Require special action for public health preparedness

Category B agents:

  • Are moderately easy to disseminate
  • Cause moderate morbidity and low mortality
  • Require specific enhancements of diagnostic capacity and disease surveillance

Category C agents:

  • Include emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass dissemination in the future because of:
    • Availability
    • Ease of production and dissemination
    • Potential for high morbidity and mortality and major health impact

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS + COORDINATION IN THE EU

  • Due to the fact that EU is a border-free area, it is strongly urged to notify and exchange information in the events of threats and attacks
  • Health Security Committee agreed a programme of cooperation in countering bioterrorism, code-named BICHAT with four objectives:
    a)To set up an alert and information exchange mechanism aka RAS-BICHAT – this has been in operation since June 2002
    b)To create a capability for the detection and identification of biological and chemical agents that might be used in attacks. In addition, a Council Regulation (No 1334/2000) lays down various lists of biological weapons for which provisions linked to export control arrangements apply
    c)To improve laboratory capacity, as it continues to be insufficient in many Member States, hence is imperative that Nations share resources in order for those with advanced facilities to assist those without
    d)To create a database on medicines stock and health services and to draw up rules and disseminate guidance on responding to attacks from the health point of view
  • Mobilization of actors and resources in many sectors other than health is crucial, thus building a multi-sector response. Particular attention: food safety, animal safety, plant safety and water safety – where there is no need to establish new systems, but rather to adjust the current mechanisms in order to improve existing strategy

KEY TREATIES, ACTS AND ORGANISATIONS TO LOOK UP

  • Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC)
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540)
  • Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
  • Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
  • Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare (signed June 17, 1925)
  • Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (WMD)
  • Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002
  • PATRIOT ACT (look at section 817)
  • The 2006 National Security Strategy
  • U.N. Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC)
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

 

The Question of Nuclear Disarmament in North Korea

 DEFINITION

Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a nuclear-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated.

INTRODUCTION

  • The 2006 North Korean nuclear test was the detonation of a nuclear device conducted on October 9, 2006 by North Korea. North Korea announced its intention to conduct a test on October 3, six days prior, and in doing so became the first nation to give warning of its first nuclear test.
  • The 2009 North Korean nuclear test was nearly universally condemned by the international community. Following the test, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1874 condemning the test and tightening sanctions on the country
  • Though North Korea had signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), former two nuclear tests left member states to request DPRK to leave the Treaty
  • North Korea was a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but withdrew in 2003, citing the failure of the United States to fulfill its end of the Agreed Framework, a 1994 agreement between the states to limit North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, begin normalization of relations, and help North Korea supply some energy needs through nuclear reactors.
  • Treaties have been previously made to agree upon the two largest stockpiles of nuclear weapon – that is, the US and USSR/Russia. The treaties SALT II (never ratified), START I (expired), INF, START II (never ratified), SORT, and New START, as well as non-binding agreements such as SALT I were set up. Even when they did not enter into force, these agreements helped limit and later reduce the numbers and types of nuclear weapons between the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia

NUCLEAR WEAPONS

A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. All existing nuclear weapons derive some of their explosive energy from nuclear fission reactions. Weapons whose explosive output is exclusively from fission reactions are commonly referred to as atomic bombs. The most commonly used fissile materials for nuclear weapons applications have been uranium-235 and plutonium-239. The other basic type of nuclear weapon produces a large proportion of its energy in nuclear fusion reactions. Such fusion weapons are generally referred to as thermonuclear weapons or more colloquially as hydrogen bombs as they rely on fusion reactions between isotopes of hydrogen. There are other types of nuclear weapons as well. For example, a boosted fission weapon is a fission bomb, which increases its explosive yield through a small amount of fusion reactions, but it is not a fusion bomb. In the boosted bomb, the neutrons produced by the fusion reactions serve primarily to increase the efficiency of the fission bomb.

KEY TREATIES, ACTS AND ORGANISATIONS TO LOOK UP

OTHER STATES WITH NUCLEAR WEPONS

  • United States
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • China
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • North Korea
  • Israel (undeclared)