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Part II Predominant Security Challenges and International Law, Technological Security, Ch.35 Biosecurity

James Revill, Anna Roessing

From: The Oxford Handbook of the International Law of Global Security

Edited By: Robin Geiß, Nils Melzer

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 23 June 2021

This chapter discusses the term ‘biosecurity’, which is a relatively new addition to the global security lexicon. It looks at the origins and evolution of the concept of biosecurity, drawing attention to drivers of interest in biosecurity and the linguistic, cultural, and political challenges to cohesively defining this concept. Notwithstanding such conceptual difficulties, biosecurity has become an important topic in twenty-first-century security discourse as multilateral and national security-policymaking organs have recognized the potential security-related risks associated with contemporary biotechnology and have sought to mitigate such risks. The chapter then elaborates on what has been achieved in terms of building a biosecurity architecture. It also considers the current status of the biosecurity debate, drawing on examples from the patchwork of biosecurity measures undertaken across the globe to illustrate how this is an area that has made considerable progress over the course of the last two decades. Ultimately, biosecurity is a work in progress that will become increasingly salient in the global security discourse as life sciences and biotechnology continue to advance in a changing geostrategic context.

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