• Act now to close chemical-weapons loophole

      Shang, Lijun; Crowley, Michael J.A.; Dando, Malcolm R. (2018-10-18)
      As the Fourth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention meets next month, state parties need to address mounting concerns about the potential development and use of law-enforcement weapons involving chemical agents that act on the central nervous system (CNS).
    • Preserving the norm against chemical weapons: A civil society initiative for the 2018 4th review conference of the chemical weapons convention

      Crowley, Michael J.A.; Shang, Lijun; Dando, Malcolm R. (2018-09)
      Acceleration of the applications of cutting edge science is often most likely in situations involving conflict and warfare between different groups. That is the focus of this paper. It asks what we know of the past, present and possible future applications of advances in our understanding of the brain in the development of chemical weapons, and what might best be done to moderate the most dangerous aspects of that process at the present time, particularly by members of civil society. The paper therefore begins by examining this possibility of hostile manipulation of the brain in some detail. It then briefly reviews the current state of the chemical and biological arms control and disarmament regime as embodied in the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) following the 2016 8th Five Year Review Conference of the BTWC and in the lead up to the 2018 4th Five Year Review Conference of the CWC. Finally, our civil society initiative to assist in achieving a successful outcome of the 2018 CWC Review Conference is described. This initiative involves the production of a multi-authored edited book, to be published in advance of the Review Conference by the UK Royal Society of Chemistry that explores many of the critical issues facing the CWC States Parties as they seek to agree effective measures to prevent the development and use of chemical weapons, as the life and chemical sciences advance.
    • Preventing chemical weapons as sciences converge

      Crowley, Michael J.A.; Shang, Lijun; Dando, Malcolm R. (2018-11)
      Stark illustrations of the dangers from chemical weapons can be seen in attacks using toxic industrial chemicals and sarin against civilians and combatants in Syria and toxic industrial chemicals in Iraq, as well as more targeted assassination operations in Malaysia and the United Kingdom, employing VX and novichok nerve agents, respectively. Concerns about such malign applications of chemical technology are exacerbated by the unstable international security environment and the changing nature of armed conflict, “where borderlines between war, civil war, large-scale violations of human rights, revolutions and uprisings, insurgencies and terrorism as well as organized crime are blurred” (1). It is thus essential that the global community regularly review the nature and implications of developments in chemistry, and its convergence with the life and associated sciences, and establish appropriate measures to prevent their misuse. With the parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) convening a Review Conference to address such issues beginning 21 November 2018, we highlight important scientific aspects (2)