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JP Zanders speaking at the OPCW Headquarters, The Hague, 9 April 2013.

Dr Jean Pascal Zanders is founder of The Trench and an independent researcher and consultant.

He specialises in questions of chemical and biological armament and disarmament. Using foresighting strategies, he researches the meaning of disarmament in a fast-evolving security context, including the longer-term future of the Chemical and Biological and Toxin Weapons Conventions, the preconditions for new global and regional disarmament initiatives, and related security developments. He participates in working groups studying opportunities for non-conventional weapon disarmament in the Middle East.

His interest also goes to the internal dynamics of a terrorist or criminal entity seeking to acquire a chemical or biological weapon capability.

He furthermore develops educational strategies and courses for security, disarmament and technology transfer controls, and designs and runs tabletop exercises.

He has published extensively on chemical and biological weapon and other security issues in English, Dutch and French since 1986.

Previous positions

He was a Senior Research Fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EU-ISS) in Paris from June 2008 until May 2013. Since 2009 he has participated as an expert to the Belgian and EU Delegations in the BTWC and CWC meetings.

Before that he was Project Leader of the Chemical and Biological Warfare Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) from October 1996 until August 2003 and Director of the Geneva-based BioWeapons Prevention Project (BWPP) between April 2003 and May 2008. At the BWPP he was also entrusted with the implementation of the first European Union Joint Action in support of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (2006-2008).

He was an inaugural member of the Advisory Board on Education and Outreach (ABEO) for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – 2016-2018; and reappointed for a 2nd term 2019-2021. He served as ABEO Chairperson for 2016 – 2019.


He holds Masters Degrees in Germanic Philology-Linguistics (1980) and Political Sciences (1992) and a PhD in Political Sciences (1996) from the Free University of Brussels (VUB).


Member of the Council of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs since 2013.

Senior Research Associate with the Fondation pour la recherche stratégique, Paris, France

Member of the International Advisory Board of Coalescion, Alexandria, VA

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