UNSCOM - Report to the Security Council - 25 January 1999



Requirements of the Plan for ongoing monitoring and verification (OMV.) in the biological area

1. The provisions in the Plan for Ongoing Monitoring and Verification (OMV) addresses, inter alia, Iraq's unconditional obligation not to use, retain, possess, develop, construct or otherwise acquire any biological weapons or related items such as stocks of agents or any related subsystems or components or any research, development, support or manufacturing facilities. The Plan established a list of dual-use items for the biological area as found in Annex III.

General objectives for monitoring in the biological area

2. These are to monitor and verify through inspections and through aerial overflights, as well as through the provision of information by Iraq that activities, sites, facilities, material and other items, both military and civilian, are not used by Iraq in contravention of its obligations under Security Council resolutions 687 (1991) and 707 (1991).

Goal of the current monitoring system

3. The current goal is to monitor and verify dual-use activities, sites, facilities and materials that have significant uses for non-prohibited purposes, but which due to their nature could be used for the development or production of biological warfare (BW) weapons. The verification of Iraq's compliance with its obligations not to use, retain or possess stocks of biological weapons, their subsystems and components and BW research, development, support and manufacturing facilities remaining from the past has been pursued by the Commission separately in the course of the verification of Iraq's proscribed biological weapons programme under the applicable resolutions. The scope and detail of the Commission's mandate in the biological area under the Plan are extensive due to the enormity of items with dual-use capability in the biological field in Iraq and necessitates a broad effort in the monitoring of Iraq.


4. The current biological monitoring activities are focussed on the verification of:

a) the total national quantity of the production, processing, consumption or storage of dual-use biological items;

b) sites and facilities that are involved in research, development, production, processing, consumption, storage or testing of dual-use biological items or other support or manufacturing facility;

c) acquisition of dual-use equipment, technologies or material;

d) research conducted with, or at facilities capable of exploiting dual-use biological equipment or material and;

e) sites and facilities that at any time have been involved in the proscribed biological programme.

Knowledge of the BW programme

5. A full account of Iraq's planning, R&D, resources, facilities and personnel involved in its proscribed BW programme is an essential prerequisite to a monitoring system that would have a reasonable level of efficiency and credibility. With the current low level of confidence in the verification of Iraq's proscribed programmes, the confidence in monitoring is greatly diminished. The fact that Iraq's declarations on its biological weapons programmes have been deeply deficient raises serious challenges with respect to OMV in the biological area.

On technical, industrial and scientific developments of Iraq's BW programme it has not been possible to compile a comprehensive assessment because Iraq has not been transparent in its FFCD nor in its clarifications of the account of its proscribed BW programme.

6. The implementation of the OMV system for biology is different from OMV work in the nuclear, missile and chemical fields. The resources and facilities needed for proscribed biological research or production can be relatively small in size and simple in technology and therefore more difficult to detect. As an example, Iraq has declared that it produced 2,200 litres of Aflatoxin, using various small volume glass jars. Iraq states it had weaponized this biological warfare agent.

7. The monitoring system described can be effective at best, at sites declared by Iraq, to deter relevant equipment and activities from being diverted to proscribed purposes. This requires Iraq to make full disclosures of all sites, governmental and non-governmental, that possess equipment and facilities capable of dual-use biological activities.

Iraq's declarations under the Plan for OMV

8. Semi-annual declarations: According to the requirements of the Plan, Iraq shall provide semi-annual declarations. Iraq is obliged to declare its holdings of dual-use materials and equipment. The information provided by Iraq is a comprehensive statement of a site's overall activities, resources and capabilities. The lists of declarable items of equipment and materials are included in the annexes to the Plan. This includes, for example: production equipment; microorganisms; biohazard containment equipment and decontamination equipment; equipment for the release and/or dispersal; equipment for breeding of vectors of human, animal or plant diseases; and munitions, rockets or missile warheads capable of disseminating biological warfare agents. Due to the nature of biological dual-use equipment and raw materials, the size and scope of the semi-annual formal declarations is much larger than for the other disciplines.

9. Reviews of semi-annual declarations are carried out following the receipt of the declarations every January and July. The declarations are analysed and verified through on-site inspection and comparative examination. The verification takes place in the period directly following the submission of the declaration, in an attempt to determine the completeness and accuracy of the data submitted and to confirm the information included in the declaration.

10. The Commission's assessments, coupled with inspection, have repeatedly shown that the declarations have been incomplete, inaccurate, or both. On numerous occasions, discrepancies have been noted between reports submitted by sites to the Commission through Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate (NMD), and the originals maintained at the sites. This has been a recurrent problem. Several years after the initiation of OMV, the biological team continues to find declarable equipment, materials and even whole sites that should have been declared by Iraq, but were not.


11. Monthly declarations: Through bilateral discussions with Iraq the Commission generated a number of specific elements unique to the facilities, termed 'monitoring parameters'. These varied across a wide spectrum of items and included elements such as changes in numbers and types of personnel, research and production activities, water and electrical power usage, inventory of microorganisms types, animal usage, materials received, products generated. The objective was to establish a more dynamic mechanism which could measure change from the baseline established through declarations and on-site inspections. Some key facilities are required to submit updated reports on a scheduled (monthly) basis along with supporting documents which are then verified by resident monitoring teams.

Baseline process

12. Protocol building or baseline inspections of sites in Iraq were undertaken during the summer of 1994. Prior to April 1995, an interim monitoring process was put in place. This process was in preparation for biological monitoring, which began in April 1995. The Commission evaluated dual purpose technologies, activities, materials, items and equipment which could contribute to a biological warfare capability and identified those sites or facilities that through possession of such characteristics could contribute to such a capability. Protocols outline the basic facts of the site, the reason for OMV, a general description of areas, equipment, technologies and activities of interest under OMV, site diagrams, maps, previous inspection findings and inspection procedures and assessment of the dual-use capability of the facility. These protocols are continuously updated by the Commission.

On-site inspections

13. The main and indispensable tool for monitoring has been continued on-site inspections. The knowledge gained by physical inspections of sites and workplace interviews with site personnel is essential.

14. Non-resident inspection teams are also an integral part of the monitoring system. A non-resident team is a short term team which can be staffed with issue specific personnel and devote all their attention to a single issue or task.

15. Listed sites: Under the current monitoring system, listed sites have been identified based on Iraq's declaration and as designated by the Commission. There are currently over 250 listed sites and Iraq is required to provide semiannual declarations for 91 of them.

16. The range of possible sites encompassed by biological monitoring needs to be broad because of the dual-use nature of biological technology and the ease with which civilian facilities can be converted for biological weapons purposes.

Many civilian enterprises maintain dual use equipment with legitimate function such as in dairy, food and drink industries, storage depots, heavy engineering, manufacturing and production facilities. Additionally, organizations that conduct research where technical expertise is found such as universities, colleges, disease control centers, breweries/distilleries, agricultural facilities, import and supply agencies and hospitals are included in the monitoring system.

17. Listed sites are categorized according to: their technical capability; the capability to be converted; the present field of activity; and the known former involvement of the site in prohibited activities. The frequency of inspection is determined according to their category.

18. Non-listed sites: Inspections of non-listed sites have been performed and have led to the discovery of undeclared dual use equipment.


19. Certain key dual-use equipment has been inventoried and tagged by the Commission. This inventory was established through tagging missions in which items of dual-use biological equipment were physically labeled with a tamper-indicating, bar-coded tags. At the time of tagging, the location, source, history of use and other essential descriptive details were obtained for subsequent insertion into the equipment inventory data base. The Commission's biological database lists currently 1,334 items of tagged equipment.

20. Sampling: Sampling of dual-use equipment, weapons and weapons material has been undertaken. This was mainly performed by non-resident inspection teams, because of the specific expertise required, for example shipping and handling capabilities; and, their respective analysis capabilities in supporting countries. Although biological samples are not taken on a routine basis by the resident team, the capability of doing so in a manner which fulfils forensic requirements does exist. New sampling systems are under development. Consideration is given to include portable detection capabilities. This would increase overall understanding of activities on a site and would increase the deterrent effect of monitoring.

The Biological Monitoring Team at the BMVC

21. The resident team is based at the BMVC and is composed of 8 to 10 experts provided by governments, generally for a three month tour of duty. Due to the broad spectrum of sites and activities under biological monitoring, a range of expertise and a diversity of background is required in the resident team. The team has benefitted greatly by engaging highly qualified personnel with a diversity of expertise. Inspectors are recruited with backgrounds in fields of biology, veterinary science, pharmacology, medicine, bio-process and genetic engineering.

The task for the resident monitoring teams are the following:

  • planning, preparation and conducting inspections;
  • interviewing Iraq's personnel;
  • performing spot-checks, checking inventoried items of equipment and end- product therefrom and inventorying of new items of equipment upon import into Iraq;
  • taking samples and packaging for transport;
  • checking records on site;
  • conducting an inventory of production equipment and microorganism stocks;
  • debriefing members after inspections and assess results of those inspections;
  • assessing information gathered by monitoring inspections. This necessitates inter alia, the filling in of questionnaires and equipment identification data sheet, the inclusion of results from samples or other types of analysis, additional conclusions from monitoring inspections or evaluations of reports by Iraq made pursuant to the site protocol;
  • making recommendations and provide advice on new sites, on any relevant changes in activities at sites (constructions, expansions, change of focus, export or import of items of interest, know-how) and on corresponding monitoring actions to be taken and their modalities and;
  • interacting with other disciplines at the BMVC, for example, providing biological input to teams, in particular chemical, missile and export-import on activities or other observations that may have biological implications.

Support from other monitoring teams

22. The Biological Team has performed cross-discipline inspections with all of the other disciplines. Teams have discovered considerable amounts of declarable

equipment. The inclusion of inspectors from other disciplines should continue to be a part of future biological monitoring.

23. The review of goods to be imported by Iraq by the Joint Export/Import Unit in New York is a valuable tool in identifying activities that may require further on-site inspection. Notifiable dual-use equipment and expendable supplies are tracked to the end-user and inspections are conducted to verify receipt and record stated purpose. The availability in Iraq of inspectors to supplement the Export/Import monitoring system has also proven valuable.

Support through aerial surveillance

24. The Aerial inspection team provides support to the biological monitoring team on an increasing basis. Aerial inspections obtain new information on changes in sites and new structures or equipment. The recent addition of digital photography capabilities has allowed for faster transmission to New York of imagery for analysis.

25. Imagery provided by U2 and Mirage aircraft are useful in the identification of changes in the external site structure and building configuration at certain facilities. This information has been used for follow-up inspections. The continued availability of these resources are seen as an important part of future monitoring.

Monitoring Cameras, Sensors and other Verification Equipment

26. Although important in other areas, cameras are only a secondary tool in the biological area. Information acquired via cameras is not in itself sufficient, in the biological area to determine whether proscribed activities are taking place at that location. Some sites such as facilities with fermentation equipment have been equipped with remote camera monitoring systems. The tapes from camera surveillance are reviewed regularly by members of the resident teams to assess the validity and appropriateness of activities within video monitored facilities.

27. Increased use of remote sensors are planned to measure and log a range of process parameters such as: temperature; motion/movement; and, light change. They can be used to monitor key processes, equipment or locations. Alarms can be set to alert the monitoring team to operations which are outside the normal parameter range. These alarms can then be linked to cameras or directly to the BMVC if deemed necessary. The sensors provide data on the frequency and duration of production runs which can be used to assess declared production quantities.


28. The biological team at the headquarters in New York identifies the monitoring scope (sites, facilities, items, materials and activities to be inspected). The team is required to assess, process, store and retrieve large amounts of data in various forms. All the incoming information (site inspection reports, monitoring parameters, declaration, aerial photography and NMD correspondence) is reviewed and assessed. Based on the assessment, the activities of the resident team can be focused on certain aspects or tasked to follow up particular issues. It does therefore require not only the latest information handling technology but also adequate secure document storage facilities. The team must have access to secure modes of communication with the resident team at the BMVC. The personnel at headquarters also recruit personnel for the resident teams in Iraq and experts for non-resident inspections. In addition, the team provides training for new members of the resident team and supervises the daily activities of the resident monitoring teams in Baghdad.

29. At present, the biological team in New York comprises four experts and one data base manager and one administrative data entry clerk. In general, this composition meets the requirements of the current system.


30. Full disclosure by Iraq of its BW programme would provide a solid baseline for biological OMV. The verification of Iraq's compliance with its obligations under resolutions 687 (1991) and 707 (1991) has been pursued by the Commission, separately, through the verification of Iraq's proscribed biological weapons programme. The monitoring system has been focussed on dual-use activities, facilities and materials in order that they are not converted for proscribed activities. It was not designed to uncover undisclosed elements of the proscribed BW programme and was predicated on the successful elimination of existing proscribed items. If disarmament issues related to the verification of Iraq's proscribed BW programme are not resolved, the biological monitoring system should be expanded.

31. Continuing support from governments is critical to the operation of OMV. In the Biological area, support is provided in the form of personnel, technical, analysis and information. The Commission must seek special arrangements with governments for an extended tour of duty period for at least four months, with the option to be made available in the future. Several governments have provided essential sample analysis services which will also be needed in the future. The Commission is kept informed by governments of certain technological advances that may be of use to the Commission's monitoring activity. The Commission is also supported by many governments in the provision of information related to Iraq's compliance with the Council's resolutions.

32. The effectiveness of the monitoring system is proportional to Iraq's cooperation and transparency, to the number of monitored sites, the number of inspectors, quantity and capability of inspection support elements. Monitoring in the biological area can be at best a deterrent at sites undergoing inspections. The monitoring system substantially increases the risk to Iraq that proscribed biological activity can be detected.