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Intersessional Work

Recognizing the fundamental importance of enhancing international cooperation, assistance and exchange in biological sciences and technology for peaceful purposes, The Seventh Review Conference decided that the topic of cooperation and assistance, with a particular focus on strengthening cooperation and assistance under Article X, will be one of three Standing Agenda Items to be addressed annually at both the Meeting of Experts and Meeting of States Parties during the 2012–2015 intersessional programme. Topics of discussion under this agenda item include:

  • A range of specific measures for the full and comprehensive implementation of Article X taking into account all of its provisions
  • Challenges and obstacles to developing international cooperation, assistance and exchange in the biological sciences and technology
  • Ways and means to target and mobilize resources to address gaps and needs for assistance and cooperation
  • Means to develop human resources in the biological sciences through education, training, exchange and twinning programmes, particularly in developing countries
  • Capacity-building through international cooperation in biosafety and biosecurity, and for detecting, reporting, and responding to outbreaks of infectious disease or biological weapons attacks, including in the areas of preparedness, response, and crisis management and mitigation
  • Coordination of cooperation with other relevant international and regional organizations and other relevant stakeholders


Following the 2012 Meeting of Experts, the Chair prepared a synthesis document to assist with the identification of common understandings during the 2012 Meeting of States Parties. On the topic of Cooperation and Assistance, the document identifies the importance of:

Working together to mobilize resources to address needs for assistance and cooperation in order to bridge the ever increasing gaps in the fields of biotechnology, genetic engineering, microbiology and other related areas, including by:
    • Identifying specific gaps and areas of need at an early stage;
    • Concentrating the electronic cooperation and assistance database on the cooperation aspect with priority given to offers and requests for projects under the BWC context;
    • Supporting domestic legislative, regulatory and policy arrangements to allow for beneficial activities and innovation in the life sciences;
    • Submitting clear, specific, and timely national reports on implementation of Article X; and
    • Collaborating and offering assistance in support of implementation measures including training programs; increasing awareness of requirements; and drafting, implementing, and enforcing laws and regulations

Coordinating with relevant international and regional organizations and other relevant stakeholders, specifically:
    • Closer cooperation between the BWC and WHO, OIE, FAO and OPCW;
    • Greater interaction between the BWC and CWC scientific communities;
    • Regional partnerships to enhance multi-sectoral training as well as disease surveillance and containment initiatives; and
    • Increased cooperation on biosafety and biosecurity at the bilateral, regional and international levels

Overcoming challenges and obstacles to international cooperation, assistance and exchange in the biological sciences and technology, by:
    • Balancing implementation of Article X and Article III of the Convention;
    • Coordinating key activities in order to enhance synergy and avoid duplication;
    • Developing procedures to promote full, effective, and non-discriminatory implementation of Article X;
    • Developing procedures for the settlement of disputes arising from concerns about the implementation of Article X; and
    • Utilizing the database to facilitate requests for and offers of assistance and cooperation among States Parties

Building capacity through international cooperation in biosafety and biosecurity, and for detecting, reporting, and responding to outbreaks of infectious disease or biological weapons attacks, including in the areas of emergency preparedness, response, management, and mitigation, including by:
    • Identifying and addressing the need for, and facilitating the exchange of equipment, materials, and scientific and technological information for the use of biological agents for peaceful purposes, particularly to developing countries;
    • Supporting states in building defences against new and emerging diseases and developing national capacity for responding to biological threats through detection, containment, and decontamination;
    • Promoting interagency coordination and multi-sectoral cooperation to prepare for, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks whether natural, accidental, or deliberate in nature;
    • Developing and implementing appropriate, sustainable, and effective laboratory safety and security measures, including guidelines, training materials and resources;
    • Supporting the WHO’s Laboratory Biorisk Management Strategic Framework for Action 2012-2016, which promotes laboratory biosafety and biosecurity solutions in developing countries;
    • Making use of initiatives such as the 5-Year Strategic Plan for strengthening global biosafety and biosecurity developed by the International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA), which identifies innovative approaches to develop capacities in areas with limited resources; and
    • Promoting sustainable commitment from funders and the consideration of whole-life costs


The synthesis document was based upon the contributions made during the Meeting of Experts and reflected in the Report of that meeting.

For further information, please see the Meetings and Documents section.

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