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The Biological Weapons Convention



The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, commonly known as the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) or Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), opened for signature in 1972 and entered into force in 1975.

It was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons, as States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention undertook "never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:

1. microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes;

2. weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict."

The Convention effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons and is a key element in the international community’s efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The following wheel allows for quick navigation to the current activities undertaken under the BWC:


Fortieth Anniversary of the Biological Weapons Convention

The Biological Weapons Convention entered into force on 26 March 1975. This year therefore marks the 40th anniversary of the Convention. This milestone in the life of the Convention had been marked by a special commemorative event which took place on 30 March 2015 in the Council Chamber of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, which is where the BWC was originally negotiated. A special anniversary webpage has been created at www.unog.ch/bwc/bwc40 which contains more information about the commemorative event and about the history of the BWC.