S&T Committee (Lords): Use of science in international agreements

19 January 2004

Nuclear non-proliferation, biological and toxin weapons and climate change are some of the serious global issues facing the international community. In establishing, implementing and verifying global agreements to address complex issues such as these, the inclusion of science is fundamental.

In a response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee consultation on the Use of Science in International Agreements, the Royal Society highlighted that science is more easily incorporated within a global agreement if an international scientific advisory body is used or established for the purpose. A good example is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which provides independent scientific advice to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change through a consensus of a considerable number of the worlds leading climate experts. In contrast, the absence of a formal scientific advisory panel on a UK and particularly at the international level is a major constraint to developing a more effective Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

The submission also calls on the UK Government to develop a clearer and more co-ordinated approach in accessing science advice for international agreements.

Royal Society submission
Press release 19 January 2004 - Controls of biological weapons critically weakened