Biological weapons seen as serious threat

According to a report called "Global Risks 2011," released by the Davos World Economic Forum's Risk Response Network, biological weapons are seen the second most serious mass destruction threat this year.

The report, the WEF's 6th edition, also says that CBRN risks may occur through geopolitical conflict or terrorist attacks.

Some experts involved with the report also believe that the risk of non-state actors acquiring materials for WMD is growing.  

"According to some experts, the risk of acquisition of WMD materials by non-state actors – and their willingness to use such tools – is considerable and could increase," the report said. "While a fully-fledged nuclear program is far beyond the capacity of any non-state actor, much nuclear material remains insecure.

"Perhaps even more significantly, the forum's community of experts argues that the use by terrorists of improvised radiological devices, the sabotage of commercial chemical plants and/or supply chains, and the possible occurrence of small-scale biological attacks rank high among risks to watch in the CBRN field."

The report says that several regimes meant to reduce the spread of WMD have been effective, with multiple states renouncing their nuclear ambitions.

The ultimate message of the report, however, is that many worries remain about both states and non-state actors and their abilities to create and implement these weapons.