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This essay focuses on three ways the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic influenced arms control and non-proliferation diplomacy. The pandemic affected the way diplomats were able to communicate with each other to negotiate on the arms control and disarmament issues. The initial response — postponing events or hosting them on makeshift platforms — was acceptable as a temporary solution but dedicated channels of communication will be needed to prepare for similar disruptions in the future. COVID-19 also had an impact on the implementation of the agreed arms control and non-proliferation accords. As on-site verification activities became impossible, remote monitoring proved its resilience, which could make it a more prominent arms control tool. Finally, the pandemic raised the profile of global health issues and led to their securitisation. This revived a discussion over international regulation of biological security through existing and new mechanisms.

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy