International Treaty on the Prohibition of Gain-of-Function Research and Bioweapons Development

All gain-of-function research should be shut down immediately to prevent another man-made pandemic

Executive Summary: International Treaty on the Prohibition of Gain-of-Function Research and Bioweapons Development

This executive summary outlines a proposed international treaty aimed at addressing the risks associated with gain-of-function research and the development of bioweapons. The treaty emphasizes the importance of preventing the misuse of biological science and technology for harmful purposes while promoting peaceful uses and cooperation in the field of biosafety and biosecurity.

Context and Objectives: The proposed treaty responds to growing concerns about the potential dual-use nature of biological research, which could lead to the accidental or deliberate creation of dangerous pathogens. It seeks to establish clear prohibitions on gain-of-function research and bioweapons development while fostering international cooperation and transparency.

Key Provisions:

  • Prohibition: The treaty prohibits the conduct of gain-of-function research that could lead to the development of bioweapons, as well as the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, or use of bioweapons derived from such research.

  • Oversight and Verification: States Parties are required to establish national mechanisms for oversight and regulation of biological research and to facilitate international inspections and verification measures to ensure compliance with the treaty.

  • Assistance and Cooperation: The treaty promotes technical assistance, capacity-building support, and cooperation among States Parties to enhance biosafety, biosecurity, and the responsible conduct of research.

  • Compliance and Enforcement: States Parties are obligated to enforce the provisions of the treaty within their jurisdictions and to cooperate in investigating alleged violations. Disputes are to be resolved through peaceful means, with the option to refer unresolved issues to the United Nations Security Council.

Signature, Ratification, and Entry into Force: The treaty is open for signature by all States and will enter into force upon the deposit of instruments of ratification, acceptance, or approval by a majority of signatory States. The Secretary-General of the United Nations will serve as the depositary of the treaty.

Rough Draft Text

Preamble

The States Parties to this Treaty,

Recognizing the profound impact that gain-of-function research and bioweapons development could have on human health, global security, and the environment,

Acknowledging the potential dual-use nature of biological research, which could lead to the accidental or deliberate creation of harmful pathogens,

Concerned about the risks posed by the deliberate misuse of biological agents as weapons of war or terrorism,

Affirming the principles of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and other relevant international agreements aimed at preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,

Reaffirming the commitment to the peaceful uses of biological science and technology for the betterment of humanity,

Emphasizing the importance of international cooperation and transparency in addressing challenges related to biosafety, biosecurity, and the responsible conduct of research,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1: Definitions

For the purposes of this Treaty:

  1. "Gain-of-function research" refers to any research that enhances the ability of pathogens to infect humans, become more transmissible, or increase their virulence.

  2. "Bioweapons development" refers to the research, production, stockpiling, or use of biological agents or toxins as weapons, including those derived from gain-of-function research.

Article 2: Prohibition

  1. The States Parties to this Treaty shall prohibit the conduct of gain-of-function research for any purpose that could lead to the development of bioweapons.

  2. The States Parties shall also prohibit the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, or use of bioweapons, including those derived from gain-of-function research.

Article 3: Oversight and Verification

  1. The States Parties shall establish national mechanisms for the oversight and regulation of biological research to prevent the misuse of scientific advances for harmful purposes.

  2. The States Parties shall cooperate in the exchange of information, expertise, and best practices to enhance biosafety, biosecurity, and the responsible conduct of research.

  3. The States Parties shall facilitate international inspections and verification measures to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Treaty.

Article 4: Assistance and Cooperation

  1. The States Parties shall provide technical assistance and capacity-building support to promote the peaceful uses of biological science and technology.

  2. The States Parties shall cooperate in the investigation and response to incidents involving the suspected use of biological agents as weapons or the accidental release of dangerous pathogens.

Article 5: Compliance and Enforcement

  1. The States Parties shall take appropriate measures to enforce the provisions of this Treaty within their respective jurisdictions.

  2. The States Parties shall cooperate in the investigation of alleged violations of this Treaty and take collective action to address non-compliance.

Article 6: Dispute Resolution

  1. Any dispute between States Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this Treaty shall be resolved through peaceful means, including negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.

  2. States Parties may refer unresolved disputes to the United Nations Security Council for consideration and appropriate action.

Article 7: Amendments

  1. Amendments to this Treaty may be proposed by any State Party and shall be adopted by consensus at a meeting of the States Parties.

  2. Amendments shall enter into force for States Parties that have accepted them upon their ratification, acceptance, or approval.

Article 8: Signature, Ratification, and Entry into Force

  1. This Treaty shall be open for signature by all States.

  2. This Treaty shall be subject to ratification, acceptance, or approval by signatory States in accordance with their respective legal procedures.

  3. This Treaty shall enter into force upon the deposit of instruments of ratification, acceptance, or approval by a majority of the signatory States.

  4. For States that ratify, accept, or approve this Treaty after its entry into force, it shall enter into force for them upon the deposit of their instruments of ratification, acceptance, or approval.

Article 9: Depositary and Registration

  1. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall serve as the depositary of this Treaty.

  2. The depositary shall register this Treaty with the Secretariat of the United Nations and notify all signatory and acceding States of its entry into force.

Reaffirming the principles of the Nuremberg Code, which established ethical standards for human experimentation in the aftermath of World War II, and recognizing the need to adapt these principles to address modern challenges in biotechnology and biowarfare,

Acknowledging the grave threat posed by biowarfare and bioterrorism to international peace and security, as well as the importance of preventing the misuse of biological agents for hostile purposes,

Done at [City], this [Day] of [Month], in the year [Year], in a single original copy in the [Languages] languages, each text being equally authentic.

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