This section contains up to date information on the Biological Weapons Convention, efforts of States Parties, the work of the Chair and activities undertaken by the Implementation Support Unit.
Related news, information, articles and reports published by other relevant stakeholders are available here.
News items from 2011 to 2014 are available here
News items from 2006 to 2010 are available here
- Letter from the President-Designate - On 25 May 2016, the President-Designate, Ambassador György Molnár of Hungary, wrote to States Parties. In the letter, Ambassador Molnár provides his assessment of the April session of the Preparatory Committee and describes his plans regarding the preparations for the resumed session in August.
- President-Designate addresses NATO conference on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation - On 9 May, the President-Designate of the Eighth BWC Review Conference, Ambassador György Molnár of Hungary, addressed the Twelfth Annual NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
- Second African conference on emerging infectious diseases and biosecurity - On 27-29 July the Second African conference on emerging infectious diseases and biosecurity will take place in Lagos, Nigeria. The conference will revisit the Dakar Declaration agreed at the first such conference in January 2015. More information about the conference can be found here.
- Recruitment for implementation of EU project - The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, Geneva Branch, is seeking a P3 Political Affairs Officer to work on the implementation of the three-year European Union Council Decision 2016/51 in support of the BWC. The Job Opening has been posted on the UN Careers website and the application deadline is 17 June 2016.
- Recent reports from IAP: The InterAcademy Partnership -The newly-released report Doing Global Science: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in the Global Research Enterprise serves as a practical guide to inform conduct of scientific research in today’s global setting. Several reports have also been released on developments in science and technology relevant to the Convention. The non-technical conference report arising from an IAP workshop convened in September 2015 is available for download from the IAP Biosecurity Working Group or directly from the UK Royal Society. This meeting brought together 72 delegates from 30 countries to identify scientific developments and discuss issues that may be of relevance to State Parties in preparing for the Eighth Review Conference. The IAP Biosecurity Working Group website also contains summaries of topical scientific discussion held during the intersessional period, including on Design and Use of Microbial Production Systems (August 2015) and Understanding Pathogenicity (August 2014).
- CBM submissions - As of the 15 April deadline for submission of annual reports under the BWC's system of Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs), the ISU had received 50 such reports. The reports submitted cover activities in calendar year 2015. All submitted CBMs are accessible to BWC States Parties in the restricted area of the BWC website, and CBMs which the submitting State Party has consented to being made public are available here.
- Preparations for the Preparatory Committee (26-27 April) - Preparations for the upcoming PrepCom meeting are proceeding. A number of working papers are already available as "advance versions" on the PrepCom page. Furthermore, two side events are already scheduled on 26 April. One will be hosted by the Russian Federation on "Strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention" introducing two working papers, and one by the European Union launching the new EU Council Decision in support of the BWC. Further documents and side events are anticipated and will also be listed on the PrepCom page.
- Chairman briefs regional groups - On 5 April, the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Eighth BWC Review Conference, Ambassador György Molnár of Hungary, briefed the Western Group, the Eastern European Group and the Group of NAM and Other States on preparations for the Preparatory Committee meeting that will take place from 26-27 April. His comments are available here.
- Chairman's remarks to roundtable in Tanzania - On 3 April, remarks on the BWC by the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Eighth BWC Review Conference, Ambassador György Molnár of Hungary, were distributed at a regional roundtable organized by Parliamentarians for Global Action in Dar-es-Salaam. In his remarks, Ambassador Molnár encouraged Tanzania and neighbouring States to join the BWC.
- Côte d'Ivoire ratifies the BWC - The Russian Federation has informed the ISU that Côte d'Ivoire deposited its instrument of ratification to the BWC in Moscow on 23 March 2016. As of this date, Côte d'Ivoire is therefore the 174th State Party to the Convention.
- EU Council Decision CFSP/2016/51 in support of the BWC has now entered its implementation phase. Mr Jean-Pascal Zanders (Political Affairs Officer) from Belgium and Mr Kwasi Yankey (Administrative Assistant) from Ghana are currently working on the project in a temporary capacity at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in Geneva. A Job Opening for the fixed-term G5 Administrative Assistant is already available on the UN Careers website, and the fixed-term P3 Political Affairs Officer post will be advertised within weeks. Furthermore, a vacancy for a UN Volunteer at the United Nations United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa in Lomé, Togo has just been advertised. The staff are now working on preparations for a series of four regional workshops to take place before the Eighth BWC Review Conference in November
- Letter from the Chairman - On 21 March 2016, the Chairman, Ambassador György Molnár of Hungary, wrote to States Parties. The letter outlines the ongoing preparations for the BWC States Parties' first meeting of the year, the meeting of the Preparatory Committee that will take place from 26 to 27 April in Geneva.
- ISU sends out an information letter on the forthcoming Preparatory Committee - On 17 March 2016, the ISU sent an information letter to BWC States Parties and Signatory States on the Preparatory Committee that will take place in April 2016. An Aide-Mémoire was attached to the letter.
- A report on the Meeting of States Parties 2015 - A report from the Harvard Sussex Program on Chemical and Biological Weapons has been published on the 2015 Meeting of States Parties. A summary is also available.
- Chairman's remarks to roundtable in Nepal - On 27 February, remarks on the BWC by the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Eighth BWC Review Conference, Ambassador György Molnár of Hungary, were distributed at a roundtable organized by Parliamentarians for Global Action. In his remarks, Ambassador Molnár encouraged Nepal to ratify the BWC and said: "I am encouraged to learn that over recent years Nepal has made great strides towards joining the Convention, and I am especially pleased that the Cabinet has recently referred the BWC to the Constituent Assembly."
- Second Gain of Function (GOF) symposium - On 10-11 March in Washington, DC, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will organize a free, public, international meeting to serve as a forum for experts and members of the public to discuss the existing policies governing GOF research and the potential for improved oversight mechanisms. The meeting will involve significant time for public comments, both in person or via an international, free webcast. Visit the project website for additional information and to register to attend, either in person or via the webcast. Comments are invited prior to and during the meeting, and any questions or comments may be submitted to email@example.com
- Chairman briefs regional groups - On 8 February, the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Eighth BWC Review Conference, Ambassador György Molnár of Hungary, briefed the Western Group (14.00), the Eastern European Group (15.00) and the Group of NAM and Other States (16:00) on preparations for the Preparatory Committee meeting that will take place from 26-27 April. His comments are available here.
- Letter from the Chairman - On 27 January the Chairman, Ambassador György Molnár of Hungary, wrote to States Parties to outline the preparations for the Preparatory Committee in April and August and for the Review Conference in November. The letter included a number of specific requests for reflections, insights, and considerations.
- European Union announces new support to the BWC - On 18 January 2016, the Council of the European Union adopted "Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/51 in support of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in the framework of the EU Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction". The Decision will provide over EUR 2 million to projects related to the BWC over the next three years. The text of the Decision is available here.
News from 2015
- ISU sends out CBM reminder letter - On 15 January the ISU sent a reminder letter to States Parties that the deadline for the submission of 2016 CBMs is 15 April 2016.
- Highest number of CBMs submitted in 2015 - With the submission on 9 January 2016 of a Confidence-Building Measure (CBM) report from Peru, the Implementation Support Unit has received the highest ever annual number of CBMs. During 2015, the ISU has received a total of 72 CBMs covering activities in the calendar year 2014. 2015 also saw a big increase in the number of States Parties deciding to make their CBMs publicly available with the figure rising from 25 in 2014 to 30 in 2015.
- Additions to the Cooperation and Assistance Database - On 22 December 2015, Cuba submitted offers of, and requests for, assistance to the Implementation Support Unit. These offers and requests have been accordingly logged in the Cooperation and Assistance Database. The updated offers of assistance are available here, while the updated requests for assistance are available to States Parties on the restricted area of this website.
- On Tuesday, 15 December 2015 the University of Bradford launched a Guide, titled 'Preventing Biological Security Threats: What You Can Do', and a 'Biological Security Education Handbook: The Power of Team-Based Learning', jointly funded by the UK and Canada under the Global Partnership. Further information is available here.
- Implementation in Action: Contributions of ASEAN Scientists and Scientific Organizations to the BWC - The ASEAN Academies of Science together with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (US-NAS) and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) have been involved in a number of important meetings on biosecurity in the ASEAN region during the past years. US-NAS and KNAW are organising a one day-long pre-conference workshop on Sunday 13 December to showcase the biosecurity-related developments of the ASEAN. This preconference has the following aims: 1) To present biosecurity-related activities organised by ASEAN scientific organizations in the region; 2) To give scientists and Academies’ officials from ASEAN countries the opportunity to become acquainted with the BWC; 3) To explore how life scientists and Academies, particularly from the ASEAN region, can contribute to the preparation of the Eighth Review Conference of the BWC. A select number of Asian, European and American scientific experts as well as prominent representatives from government and other relevant institutions has pledged a contribution. The agenda of the preconference is available here. Those interested in attending should inform Dr. Jo Husbands (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Koos van der Bruggen (email@example.com) before 10 December.
- Chairman briefs regional groups - BWC Chairman, Ambassador Mazlan Muhammad of Malaysia, briefed the Western Group (10.00) and the Eastern European Group (11.30) on 19 November 2015 and the Group of NAM and Other States (10.30) on 20 November 2015. His comments are available here.
- European Union adopts position on the Eighth BWC Review Conference - On 16 November 2015, the Council of the European Union adopted "Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/2096 on the position of the European Union relating to the Eighth Review Conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (BTWC)". The Decision is available here.
- A report on the Meeting of Experts 2015 - A report from the Harvard Sussex Program on Chemical and Biological Weapons has been published on the 2015 Meeting of Experts.
- First Committee approves BWC resolution - On 3 November 2015, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) of the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution on the BWC which had been introduced by Hungary. The text of the resolution is available here in all official UN languages.
- Handbook by the FBI-CDC: The US Department of Justice issued the international edition of The 2015 FBI-CDC Criminal and Epidemiological Investigations Handbook. It is a reference publication for law enforcement, public health, and first responders which highlights resources and strategies for maximizing communication and interaction during a joint response to a biological incident.
- Letter from the ISU Chief for MSP 2015 Sponsorship Programme - On 11 September 2015, a letter for the Sponsorship Programme for the Meeting of States Parties 2015 (MSP 2015) has been sent to the States Parties, Signatory States and States not party by the Chief of the Implementation Support Unit.
- Video message about the BWC - UN Messenger for Peace Michael Douglas has recorded a video message about the BWC in its 40th anniversary year. The video is available here. The video was shown on 10 August to participants in the 2015 BWC Meeting of Experts.
- Workshop – an introduction to the BWC - On Monday 3 August, the BWC ISU and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) organized a half-day workshop on the BWC. The workshop was aimed at national delegates based in Geneva who would be participating in this year's BWC meetings who are either new to Geneva or who are less familiar with the BWC and its implementation. The workshop was modelled on similar events co-organized by the ISU that took place in previous years. The invitation is available. The programme of the event, the presentation by the ISU, the presentation by Scott Spence from VERTIC and the presentation by Jean-Pascal Zanders are hereby available.
- Informal meeting co-hosted by the BWC ISU and UNIDIR - An informal meeting on "Implications and Lessons Learned From the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak for the Biological Weapons Convention" will be co-hosted by the BWC ISU and UNIDIR on 7 August 2015 at the Palais des Nations. The Announcement letter and the Revised Agenda of the meeting are available. A summary report of the meeting published by UNIDIR is available here.
- Chairman briefs regional groups - BWC Chairman, Ambassador Mazlan Muhammad of Malaysia, briefed the Group of NAM and Other States (10.30) on 29 June 2015 and the Eastern European Group (10.00) and the Western Group (11.00) on 2 July 2015. His comments are available here.
- Denmark publishes biosecurity handbook - The Danish Centre for Biosecurity and Biopreparedness (CBB) has published a handbook for establishing a national biosecurity system, based on Danish experience since 2008. The handbook, entitled “An Efficient and Practical Approach to Biosecurity” was created by the CBB as an aid to those countries that are still in the process of creating their own national biosecurity system. The handbook and supplementary material can be found here.
- Letter from the ISU Chief for MX 2015 - On 23 June 2015, a letter for the Meeting of Experts 2015 (MX 2015) has been sent to the States Parties and Signatory States by the Chief of the Implementation Support Unit. The letter is accompanied by an aide-mémoire with detailed information on registration for States Parties, Observer States, Intergovernmental Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations.
- Advances in Design and Use of Microbial Production Systems: A Workshop for the BWC Community - will be organized in Geneva on 9 August 2015 by the Biosecurity Working Group of IAP – The Global Network of Science Academies and the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. See the preliminary programme for more details and contact Katie Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend.
- A report on the Biological Weapons Convention 40th Anniversary Event - The Harvard Sussex Program on Chemical and Biological Weapons has published a report on the 40th Anniversary event
- Second letter from the Chairman - On 27 May, the Chairman, Ambassador Muhammad of Malaysia, wrote to States Parties to outline the preparations for the Meeting of Experts in August. Annexed to the letter is a provisional programme of work for the Meeting.
- 2015 CBMs have been posted - Submissions received to date under the BWC's system of Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) have been published on the BWC website. The submissions made available cover calendar year 2014. CBMs are accessible to BWC States Parties in the restricted area of the BWC website, and CBMs which the submitting State Party has consented to being made available publicly are here.
- Updated English-language CBM guide - An updated English language version of the "Guide to Participating in the Confidence-building Measures of the Biological Weapons Convention" is available here. This guide has been prepared with the support of the European Union in order to provide practical advice and guidance to officials responsible for preparing CBM submissions. Versions are also available here in the other official UN languages. It is hoped that this guide will promote participation in the CBMs and enhance the quality of the information submitted.
- A report on the 2014 Meeting of States Parties - The Harvard Sussex Program on Chemical and Biological Weapons has published a report on the 2014 MSP.
- Andorra accedes to the BWC - The US Department of State has informed the ISU that Andorra deposited its instrument of accession to the BWC at the US Consulate in Barcelona on 27 February 2015. The BWC entered into force for Andorra upon receipt of the instrument in Washington, DC on 2 March 2015. As of this date, Andorra is therefore the 173rd State Party to the Convention.
- Chairman briefs regional groups - on Monday 16 March, the 2015 BWC Chairman, Ambassador Mazlan Muhammad of Malaysia, briefed the Group of NAM and Other States (09:00), the Eastern European Group (10.00) and the Western Group (11.00). His comments covered the approach to work in 2015, building on the work from 2012-14, promoting effective action, strengthening Article VII, the Meeting of Experts and ISU staffing.
- BWC 40th anniversary commemorative event - On 30 March 2015 in the Council Chamber in the Palais des Nations in Geneva a commemorative event will take place to mark the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the BWC. An invitation from the Chairman, Ambassador Muhammad of Malaysia, was sent to States Parties, Signatories and States not party to the BWC on 12 March. The invitation for NGOs and others can be found here. A webpage to mark the anniversary is available here where updated information about the commemoration will also be posted.
- Explanation of position by the Russian Federation - At the request of the Russian Federation, a document entitled "Explanation of Position by the Russian Federation" has been issued as a document of the 2014 Meeting of States Parties. The ISU has added the document to the list of official 2014 MSP documents and it can be found here.
- BWC on social media – As an extension of this website on the Biological Weapons Convention, the ISU also manages a presence for the Convention on Twitter and Facebook. Neither will replace formal communications with States Parties nor replace this website as the repository of BWC-related information and announcements, but they will be used to amplify items posted here and to raise awareness of the BWC. On Twitter follow @bwcisu and use the hashtag #1972BWC for the Convention, #biodisarm for general items relating to biological disarmament and, for the 2015 meetings, we suggest to use #BWCMX2015 and #BWCMSP2015. For tweets relating to the 40th anniversary of the BWC this year, we suggest #BWC40 and for the Eighth Review Conference next year, we suggest #BWCRC8. On Facebook the page on the BWC can be found at https://www.facebook.com/1972BWC
- Letter from Chairman - On 11 February the Chairman, Ambassador Muhammad of Malaysia, wrote to States Parties to outline his plans for the year. The letter included a number of specific requests for reflections, insights, and considerations.
- Mauritania accedes to the BWC - The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced on 4 February 2015 that the Islamic Republic of Mauritania deposited its instrument of accession to the BWC in London on 28 January 2015. As of this date, Mauritania is therefore the 172nd State Party to the Convention.
- The ISU is seeking to recruit two new members of the Unit - a P4 Political Affairs Officer for which the application closing date is 26 February and a P3 Political Affairs Officer for which the closing date is 5 March. Please click on the links for further information and the application procedure.
- ISU updates the "joining the BWC" webpage - The ISU has added more detailed practical information on how States can go about joining the BWC. The webpage now includes information on the relevant provisions of the Convention and on the functions of the Depository Governments. It also includes the contact details for each of the Depository Governments with whom instruments of ratification, accession or succession should be deposited and furthermore includes models of instruments of ratification, accession or succession. The updated webpage can be found via the navigation menu on the left, or here.
- ISU sends out CBM reminder letter - On 15 January the ISU sent States Parties the annual reminder letter that the deadline for the submission of CBMs to cover 2014 is 15 April 2015. (Please click on the following links to the cover letter and reminder letter).