The Australia Group is an informal forum of countries promoting the harmonization of export licensing procedures in an attempt to ensure that exports of chemicals, biological agents, and dual-use equipment do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons. A list of common technologies with the potential to be used in chemical and biological weapons programs has been developed and is used as the basis for export restrictions. Member countries are all states parties to the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Members provide funding for the group’s activities.
The activities of the Australia Group have been supported by major chemical and biological industries that are concerned about the possibility of inadvertently providing supplies or equipment that could be used to develop chemical or biological weapons. (www.australiagroup.net/en/index.html)
Interpol, the world’s largest police organization, assists law enforcement agencies in more than 180 member countries to combat all types of transnational crime. The Biocriminalization project was launched in September 2006 to identify legislative and regulatory gaps in member countries—seen as a key obstacle in the fight against bioterrorism—and to assist them with drafting and enacting legislation to prohibit and prevent the misuse of biological agents and toxins. (www.interpol.int/)
The revised International Health Regulations went into effect in June 2007. The regulations are designed to support the international management of public health emergencies with a focus on preventing the international spread of diseases. Countries are required to develop and strengthen their capacities to detect, report, and respond to public health threats. For low-resource countries, financial and technical assistance is to be available. The shortage of this assistance is seen as a potential barrier to the effective implementation