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Setting a standard for stakeholdership

30 November 2011
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While states ratify the BTWC and the responsibility for complying with the provisions and additional obligations lies with national governments, the network of actors active in the fields covered by the BTWC is much broader. After all, governments only carry out a part of all research into biotechnology and related fields. The same goes for the manufacture of products that incorporate new biotechnologies, such as new medicines, but also detergents or biomaterials. The biotechnology industry and academic field drive the current ground-breaking developments across the globe. These developments have the potential to improve the lives of millions of people and should therefore be encouraged. At the same time, they also bring new risks as they might be abused by those willing to inflict mass harm against humans, animals and plants. Dangerous pathogens being researched or manipulated in laboratories could also be accidentally released into the environment. Because the life sciences and their industrial applications offer opportunities and pose inherent dangers, it is imperative that the stakeholders in industry and academia are brought into the BTWC discussions.