4 June 2010
2010 Australia Group Plenary
The Australia Group today concluded its annual plenary meeting. The Australia Group is a cooperative and voluntary body working to counter the spread of technologies and materials that could assist states of concern and terrorist groups in obtaining or developing chemical and biological weapons. The plenary was co-hosted in Paris by the Australian and French Governments.
During the plenary, Australia Group participants discussed best practices and measures to detect and prevent attempts to proliferate sensitive and dual-use chemicals, biological materials and equipment. The Group agreed on measures to enhance and refine licensing and export controls in order to meet current and future proliferation challenges.
The Group adopted a number of changes to its chemical and biological control lists, and enhanced its vigilance with regard to the proliferation risk associated with new and emerging technologies, adopting specific recommendations from its technical advisory group in this area.
The Australia Group agreed to quickly finalise a new outreach publication that should assist states in dealing with intangible transfers of technology. The publication has been made possible through the generous support of the Republic of Korea and will be available to both Australia Group participants and non-participants, including on-line.
The plenary reiterated its view that preventing unauthorised transfers of intangible technology remained a priority area in the defence against the proliferation of all forms of weapons of mass destruction and expressed the hope that the Group’s new publication would contribute to this goal. The Australia Group emphasised the continued importance of engaging industry and academic sectors in support of the Group’s work, to include assisting in combating security-sensitive transfers of intangible technology.
The Australia Group plenary again emphasised its commitment to ensuring that non-proliferation export controls did not hinder legitimate trade and technical cooperation in the chemical and biological sectors.
No new members were admitted to the Group in 2010. Interest in membership from several countries received appropriate attention, and further engagement with these countries was approved by the plenary. Individual Australia Group members will continue to pursue engagement with these countries as well.
The Australia Group plenary noted that the Group’s control lists continued to be an international benchmark for best practice controls on chemical and biological agents. International acceptance of Australia Group controls and practices are in part a result of the Group’s extensive outreach to non-members and other international bodies. The Australia Group plenary agreed to continue an active outreach program in 2010-11.
Further information on the Australia Group is available at www.australiagroup.net.