The challenges posed to international security by nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons have recently reached levels of urgency not seen since the Cold War. There is an increasing demand for professionals in the field of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to tackle the challenges of today’s non-proliferation and disarmament agenda with a more integrated understanding of these issues. From 19 to 23 September, the Asser Institute in The Hague will host the thirteenth training programme on disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, co-organized with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
During this intensive training programme, you will receive a comprehensive overview of non-proliferation and disarmament efforts regarding WMD. You will learn from renowned experts and practitioners and engage in active discussions about relevant topics and ongoing debates. The programme also provides you with the opportunity to build your professional network and connect with experts in the field, as well as with your fellow participants.
The registration fee includes lectures, study materials, study visits, water/tea/coffee and lunch during working days, one reception, and an opening dinner. It does not cover international travel costs, domestic travel to and from airports, accommodation, insurance, or other expenses.
All activities during the programme are conducted in English. Participants are therefore expected to have a good oral and written command of this language.
The proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (biological, chemical and nuclear weapons) presents an incalculable risk to national, regional and global security, as well as human and environmental health. After years on the political sidelines, Weapons of Mass Destruction (biological, chemical and nuclear weapons) are again centre stage on the international security agenda. The war in Ukraine has highlighted the importance of maintaining the prohibition norm against the use of biological and chemical weapons, and robust international mechanisms including arms control measures to prevent nuclear escalation during conflicts.
The increased threat from nuclear weapons comes as nuclear arms control and non-proliferation regimes are disintegrating, nuclear-armed states are developing new weapons systems, and conflicts involving nuclear-armed states are erupting. Although the Cold War ended, the United States and Russia are still locked in a nuclear stand-off in which each side maintains hundreds of warheads ready to be launched at a moment’s notice.
Meanwhile, despite considerable success in curtailing chemical weapons proliferation and destroying stockpiles in the last decades, the increasing number of incidents in which chemical weapons have been used in recent years is a matter of grave concern. Questions on the possible erosion of the norm against the use of chemical weapons, how future use can be deterred, and how to strengthen the capacity of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to deal with these threats have come to the fore.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic serves as a grim reminder of the imperative of curtailing the spread and use of biological weapons. The pandemic was not the result of the intentional use of the COVID-19 virus for military purposes but it has illustrated the catastrophic health and economic impacts of the spread of a novel pathogen of a nature which could be used for military purposes, and the global cooperation and array of measures needed should a bioweapon of this kind ever be used.
Finally, the rapid development of emerging and potentially destabilizing technologies, such as drone technologies, hypersonic ballistic missiles, artificial intelligence-enabled weapon systems, present new challenges to the existing global non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control systems. In particular, such new technologies exacerbate the risks of misunderstanding, new arms races, and escalation through miscalculation. It is necessary to bring emerging technologies into the ongoing debates about arms control in order to mitigate the risks of technological innovation.
How should we understand and deal with these new dynamics?
The annual training programme on disarmament and non-proliferation of WMD gives a comprehensive overview of the international legal and political regimes governing these weapons. It considers initiatives and progress on reducing risks associated with these weapons, reviews recent or current instances of WMD flashpoints and case studies of potential arms races, instability and escalation. Finally, it examines cutting-edge issues and developments that shape the future of our efforts to control weapons of mass destruction.
Participants will gain: