Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

ASNO

  Annual Report 1998-99

 

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES

ASNO’s activities in 199899 are described and evaluated in the following sections.

Activities are described in relation to particular tasks, and grouped according to the output to which they relate (see summary of outcomes and outputs).

OUTPUT F

Contribution to development of new and strengthened WMD non-proliferation regimes such as the BWC and FMCT.

Milestone F1

Provision of effective technical support and advice to Australia’s BWC verification protocol negotiations.

Activities

ASNO assisted ISD in the development of a protocol to the BWC through the provision of technical advice on effective verification matters, including on-site visits and declaration triggers. In addition, as part of the Australian delegation, ASNO participated in the Geneva-based Ad Hoc Group negotiations through bilateral consultations in key capitals.

ASNO participated strongly in the BWC National Consultative Group (NCG), including conducting an industry survey designed to provide a preliminary assessment of the range and number of Australian commercial facilities likely to be captured by the protocol. The survey sought information in six key areas, namely: microbiological production, work with microorganisms and/or toxins, genetic manipulation of organisms, aerosol dissemination, bio-containment facilities, and bio-defence programs. Survey results indicated that the protocol is likely to have a modest impact on the biotechnology industry in Australia.

Likewise, in an attempt to assess the level of intrusiveness of a verification regime on industry, ASNO participated in a trial non-challenge inspection of a commercial biotechnology facility.

Performance Assessment

Results of the industry survey were presented by ASNO at the second NCG meeting, and were well received. At the request of NCG members, ASNO started an assessment of the possible impact of the BWC provisions on government facilities.

ASNO participated in the trial non-challenge visit.

ISD values ASNO’s technical input towards the development of an effective BWC verification protocol.

Milestone F2

Effective contribution to national and international discussions on FMCT developments.

Activities

ASNO, in close collaboration with ISD, is playing an active role in the development and promotion of practical concepts for the verification of States’ obligations under the proposed Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). In particular, ASNO has developed a ‘focused’ approach to FMCT verification for discussion with counterparts in other countries in preparation for negotiations.

ASNO has provided assistance to ISD in the formulation of advice on FMCT for the Australian Delegation in the CD and Australian posts in key capitals. ASNO officers have participated in bilateral consultations on FMCT with our counterparts in other countries and the IAEA. Activities have also included publications, presentation of conference papers, and participation in international seminars.

Performance Assessment

ASNO’s ideas on a focused FMCT verification regime were presented at several international seminars and conferences where they were well received.

ISD values ASNO input towards the development of effective verification arrangements for the FMCT.

 

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