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BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION EXPERTS TO MEET IN GENEVA FROM 12 TO 16 AUGUST 2013

BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION EXPERTS TO MEET IN GENEVA FROM 12 TO 16 AUGUST 2013
Third Meeting of a New Intersessional Work Programme
9 August 2013

The 2013 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Meeting of Experts will be held at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 12 to 16 August. The BWC prohibits the development, production and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons. The 2013 Meeting of Experts is the first meeting in the second year of a four-year programme mandated by the Seventh Review Conference of the BWC in December 2011. The current work programme strengthens the implementation of the Convention and improves its effectiveness as a practical barrier against the development or use of biological weapons. It builds on similar past processes that ran from 2003 to 2005 and from 2007 to 2010. States Parties and experts use these opportunities to exchange experience, expertise and best practices on how the treaty’s international obligations are translated into effective national action.

This year's meeting will discuss, and promote common understandings and effective action on:

· International cooperation and assistance - how States Parties can work together to build relevant capacity;
· Review of developments in the field of science and technology relevant to the BWC - how States Parties keep up with the rapid pace of advances in the life sciences and their implications for the Convention;
· Ways and means to strengthen national implementation of the Convention - how States Parties work domestically to prevent disease being used as a weapon;
· Enhancement of participation in the Confidence Building Measures - how States Parties can better exchange information to increase transparency and build confidence in compliance.

The Meeting of Experts will be chaired by Ms. Judit Körömi, Special Representative of the Foreign Minister of Hungary for Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation.  Referring to her chosen theme for the year, the Chairman said "I am convinced that bringing more voices to the table -- in terms of the number of states present, the range of agencies represented in their delegations, as well as experts from outside of government -- will help keep this treaty at the forefront of international efforts to prevent the hostile use of the life sciences".

Broad participation in expected at the meeting. As well as the States Parties to the BWC, key intergovernmental organizations will participate, as will scientific and professional associations, academic institutions, think tanks, other non-governmental bodies and individual technical experts.

The results of the Meeting of Experts will be considered by the Meeting of States Parties, to be held in Geneva from 9 to 13 December 2013. The Meeting of States Parties will review the ideas and proposals presented at the Meeting of Experts and work to promote effective action to strengthen the operation of the Convention.

The Biological Weapons Convention, more formally referred to as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, opened for signature in 1972 and entered into force in 1975. It prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons and is a key element – along with the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention – in the international community's efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Biological Weapons Convention is the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons. It currently has 170 States parties, with a further 10 having signed but not yet ratified.


For further information, please contact:

Mr. Richard Lennane
Head, BWC Implementation Support Unit
Tel +41 (0)22 917 22 30
Fax +41 (0)22 917 04 83
E-mail: rlennane@unog.ch

Or:

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For use of the information media; not an official record

DC13/029E