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BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION EXPERT MEETING CONCLUDES

BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION EXPERT MEETING CONCLUDES
8 August 2014

The 2014 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Meeting of Experts was held at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 4 to 8 August 2014.  Formally known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, the Convention was the first multilateral disarmament treaty to ban an entire category of weapons.  It was opened for signature in 1972 and entered into force in 1975.  It currently has 170 States Parties, with a further 10 having signed but not yet ratified.

The 2014 Meeting of Experts was the first meeting in the current year of the inter-sessional programme that was mandated in December 2011 by the BWC States Parties at its Seventh Review Conference.  The four-year inter-sessional programme includes annual Meetings of Experts as well as Meetings of States Parties.  The report of the 2014 Meeting of Experts will be considered by the 2014 Meeting of States Parties, which will be held in Geneva from 1 to 5 December.

The current inter-sessional programme seeks to discuss, and promote common understanding and effective action on those issues identified for inclusion in the programme. The next Review Conference is scheduled for 2016. This year's Meeting of Experts discussed a range of proposal and ideas on, inter alia,:

- Cooperation and assistance, with a particular focus on strengthening cooperation and assistance under Article X;
- Review of developments in the field of science and technology related to the Convention;
- Strengthening national implementation;
- How to strengthen Article VII, including consideration of detailed procedures and mechanisms for the provision of assistance and cooperation by States Parties.

The Meeting of Experts was chaired by Ambassador Urs Schmid of Switzerland.  It brought together over 400 participants from 91 countries.  Expert participants came from government agencies, international organizations and specialized agencies, such as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, INTERPOL, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the International Committee of the Red Cross.  A range of non-governmental organizations, academic experts and representatives of the private sector made valuable contributions to the work of the meeting.

Speaking at the close of the meeting today, the Chairman noted his satisfaction with the results, saying “We have had a focused, positive and constructive meeting.  During the course of this week, we have heard a wide range of perspectives, from a variety of agencies in both developed and developing countries, from international organisations, from professional and scientific associations, from academia and NGOs, and from the private sector.  Those views are greatly valued and will contribute to the discussions of our forthcoming meeting of States Parties in December”.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Ngoc Phuong van der Blij
Political Affairs Officer, BWC Implementation Support Unit
Tel +41 (0)22 917 22 61
Fax +41 (0)22 917 04 83
E-mail: nphuynh@unog.ch

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For use of the information media; not an official record

DC14/027E