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Ambassador Kennedy’s Remarks on Dual Use Research of Concern
July 18, 2012

July 17, 2012

A woman speaking at a microphone
U.S. Special Representative for Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Issues and U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament Ambassador Laura E. Kennedy speaking at the Biological Weapons Forum.

Good  afternoon. It is a pleasure for me to be here with you and to introduce this important event.

We are pleased to co-host this event with our colleagues from The Netherlands and thank them for all of their efforts.

For the last 8-9 months, there has been much debate over dual use research of concern, sparked by two papers related to H5N1.

When we met in December at the RevCon, these discussions were just beginning and policies were being developed.  Since then, there have been a series of international meetings related to the H5N1 papers, most of which have been aimed at the scientific community.

We felt it was important to take this opportunity during the BWC meeting to have a discussion about dual use research of concern and the H5N1 experiments within our security community.  To ensure everyone was fully informed about the facts of the case, and to give countries and delegates and opportunity to discuss points of view.

In particular, we hope this event can spark debate over the opportunities for furthering national oversight mechanisms and advancing dual use research of concern policy within the BWC forum.

Today, Dr. Larry Kerr from the United States National Counter-Proliferation Center will provide a factual overview of the H5N1 papers, involved organizations, researchers and nations.

Dr. Kerr will be followed by Dr. Marianne Donker of the Netherlands Ministry of Health and Mr. Christopher Park Director of the State Department’s Biological Policy Staff, who will review the policy actions taken by each government to date.

Several other governments were also directly involved in this issue, either because some of the research was conducted in their country, or because the work was conducted using virus strains collected in their country.  We thought it appropriate to ask them if they would like to make any remarks before we open things up for discussion.   Representative of Japan and Indonesia intend to make brief statements.  We also welcome any comments that the United Kingdom and Vietnam representatives may wish to make.

We hope to spend most of this session in a productive, open discussion about the wider implications of this research;  options for addressing these implications; and thoughtful debate about the roles of government, civil society and researchers in addressing dual use research of concern.