The first step is to obtain the blank forms in the official language you wish to use:
Blank CBM Forms (extracted from BWC/CONF.VI/INF.3)
How to complete the forms
Completing the CBM forms can be a lengthy and difficult exercise, especially the first time it is done. Collecting the necessary information typically requires contacting several different government ministries and agencies. In larger countries, the necessary information may be held at state or provincial rather than federal level, further complicating the task. Each country's system of government is different, so we can only offer general guidance and suggestions here. There are three golden rules to bear in mind:
- Start early: it will take time. To meet the 15 April deadline, you will need to contact the relevant agencies and start collecting information in January at the latest.
- Use information that has already been collected: some of the information required in the CBMs may also be required for other purposes, such as reports to the WHO or those mandated by Security Council Resolution 1540.
- Be clear: if there is nothing to declare for a particular measure, say so - don't just leave the form for that measure blank. Similarly, if you have incomplete information, or are waiting for information that will be provided later, say so on the form. Remember that the purpose of the CBMs is to increase transparency: incomplete information is better than none.
Following are some informal suggestions for completing each of the measures:
CBM A: Part 1: Exchange of data on research centres and laboratories
The first step is to identify any facilities having maximum containment laboratories meeting the criteria for such laboratories as specified in the WHO Laboratory Biosafety Manual
. In many countries, the ministry of health will hold this information; ministries of science, technology or education may also be relevant.
The responsible ministry or agency may have the required information about these facilities on file, in which case it is simply a matter of transferring the data to the CBM form. Alternatively, it may be necessary to contact each facility individually to obtain the necessary information about its activities.
CBM A: Part 2: Exchange of information on national biological defence research and development programmes
CBM B: Exchange of information on outbreaks of infectious diseases and similar occurrences caused by toxins
CBM C : Encouragement of publication of results and promotion of use of knowledge
CBM D: Active promotion of contacts
CBM E: Declaration of legislation, regulations and other measures
You should declare on Form E any legislation, regulations and other measures relating in particular to Article I (development, production, stockpiling, etc) and Article III (import and export, i.e. transfers). In the interests of transparency, you may also wish to provide information on legislation and regulations governing security of pathogens, biosafety, licensing of personnel, and anything else relating to national implementation of the Convention.
This topic was discussed in detail at the Meeting of Experts in 2003
: you may wish to look at the documents of that meeting for ideas on which legislation and regulations to include in the CBM. Important:
your country may already have provided (or be in the process of providing) very similar information to the United Nations Security Council 1540 Committee
. You can use this information to complete this CBM form.
As well as completing Form E, it is helpful if you can provide DDA with copies of the listed legislation and regulations, or an internet link to the text (if available).
Once you have declared the legislation and regulations, in subsequent years you need only indicate if there has been any change or amendment.
CBM F : Declaration of past activities in offensive and/or defensive biological research and development programmes
CBM G: Declaration of vaccine production facilities
Completing the cover sheet
Once you have completed forms A to G, you can fill in the cover sheet. Tick the "nothing to declare" box if you had nothing to declare on that form (and remember: please write "nothing to declare" on the form itself too - don't just leave it blank).
If you have put information in a form, leave both the tick boxes for that form empty.
In subsequent years, if information you have previously put in a form has not changed, tick the "nothing new to declare" for that form (and please write "nothing new to declare" on the form itself).
Submitting the CBM return
We encourage you to submit your CBM return electronically (as a Microsoft Word, RTF or PDF document) to firstname.lastname@example.org
. All e-mail submissions will be ackowledged. If you wish, you may also send a hard copy, under cover of a note verbale from your permanent mission in Geneva, to:
BWC Implementation Support Unit
Office for Disarmament Affairs (Geneva Branch)
Room C.115-117, Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10
fax: +41 (0)22 917 04 83
Options for publication
From 2007 onwards, CBM submissions received will be published in the restricted area of this website
(accessible to States Parties only), unless the submitting State Party requests otherwise. Please inform the ISU if you do not
want your CBM published on the secure website. Any CBMs that are not published on the website will be circulated to States Parties on CD-ROM. Some States Parties have opted to make their CBM returns available on the public section of this website. These can be found on the Confidence Building Measures
Missed the deadline?
CBM returns are due by 15 April each year, but don't panic if you are late: you are in good company. Just submit the return as soon as you can. If we receive it too late for inclusion in the main printed edition, it will be issued as an addendum.
If you have problems or questions, please get in touch: we will do our best to help. See the contact page