Skip to content
Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Annual Report 1999-2000

Output FNew Non-Proliferation Regimes

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 Australias negotiations for a protocol to strengthen the BWC.

Activities

ASNO continued to provide ISD with technical assistance in the development of a protocol to strengthen the BWC, but at a lower level of intensity. This work includes analysis of options for declaration triggers, and identification of Government facilities potentially affected by the protocol in Australia. To this end, ASNO conducted an extensive survey of Government facilities focussing on six key areas, namely: microbiological production; work with micro-organisms 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 greater impact on Government facilities than the biotechnology industry in Australia. In addition, ASNO also managed a consultancy directed towards developing options for better targeting one specific declaration trigger, namely that for Other Production Facilities.

Performance Assessment

A report on results of the efforts to better define the Other Production Facility declaration trigger was considered by the National Consultative Group and helped inform the Australian delegation to the CD in Geneva. ISD values ASNOs technical input towards the development of an effective BWC verification regime.

Milestone F2

Effective contribution to national and international discussions on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) developments.

Activities

The concept of an FMCT is described on page 73. Effective and cost-efficient verification will be fundamental to the FMCT regime. An important part of preparation for FMCT negotiations, therefore, is the development of verification concepts to help guide the negotiations to a successful outcome.

Development of verification concepts for the FMCT is a task of high priority for ASNO. During the year ASNO further developed, and presented at different international fora, new ideas on basic verification aspects of the FMCT including, inter alia, routine and non-routine verification activities, managed access, and challenge inspection mechanisms.

The IAEA has decided to refine its previous analyses undertaken in preparation for providing assistance in the negotiation of this Treaty. At the IAEAs request, ASNO has made available a senior staff member, Dr Bragin, as a part-time cost-free consultant to the IAEA on matters relating to the proposed FMCT. Dr Bragin assisted the IAEA in assessing the implications of possible alternative approaches to verification.

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

ASNOs ideas on a focused FMCT verification regime were presented at several international seminars and conferences where they were well received. These ideas appear to be accepted by the majority of the international experts.

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

Return to the ASNO Annual

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade