18 December 2017
States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) have concluded the 2017 Meeting of States Parties (MSP) held at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 4 to 8 December. The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill of India with Ambassador Michael Biontino of Germany and Ambassador Juraj Podhorský of Slovakia as the Vice-Chairs.
This was the first such meeting in the new 2017-2020 intersessional process that was mandated by the Eighth BWC Review Conference in 2016.
In accordance with the decision of the Review Conference, this year’s meeting sought to make progress on issues of substance and process for the period before the Ninth Review Conference in 2021, with a view to reaching consensus on an intersessional process.
On 8 December 2017, the MSP successfully concluded and established an intersessional programme for 2018-2020. Twelve days will be allocated to the intersessional programme each year, with annual Meetings of States Parties preceded by annual Meetings of Experts. The Meetings of Experts will be held back-to-back for eight days at least three months before the annual Meetings of States Parties.
The five Meetings of Experts (MX) will be open-ended and will consider the following topics:
- MX1 Cooperation and assistance, with a particular focus on strengthening cooperation and assistance under Article X (two days)
- MX2 Review of developments in the field of science and technology related to the Convention (two days)
- MX3 Strengthening national implementation (one day)
- MX4 Assistance, Response and Preparedness (two days)
- MX5 Institutional Strengthening of the Convention (one day)
Each annual MSP will consider the outcomes and factual reports of the MXs. The MSPs will be responsible for managing the intersessional programme.
Closing the meeting on 8 December, the Chairman noted with satisfaction that “All delegations showed flexibility and dedication this week. We all worked hard together in order to ensure a successful outcome and establish a robust intersessional programme.”
The Meeting attracted high interest, and the level of participation was the highest ever for a BWC official meeting: around 600 participants from 114 States Parties took part in the meeting and around 120 observers (from two States not party, two Signatory States, Specialized agencies and other international organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations) participated in the meeting, bringing the total number of participants to over 700 delegates.
The Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM), the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the World Health Organization (WHO) were granted observer status to participate in the Meeting. Individuals from 37 non-governmental organizations and academic institutions also enriched the meeting through their attendance and interventions during an informal segment, as well as an exceptionally full schedule of side events.
In the context of discussions on universalization of the Convention, States Parties welcomed Samoa as a new State Party, bringing the Convention’s membership to 179 States Parties. The Meeting also noted a report by the Chairman on progress with universalization which noted positive progress towards BWC membership in several States.
The MSP also noted the annual report of the Implementation Support Unit and expressed its satisfaction with the work of the Unit. The MSP called on States Parties to continue working closely with the ISU in fulfilling its mandate.
An advance copy of the report of the Meeting of States Parties will be available soon and the final report will be issued in all official languages early in 2018.
For further information, please contact:
Mr. Daniel Feakes
Chief, BWC Implementation Support Unit
Tel +41 (0)22 917 22 30
Fax +41 (0)22 917 04 83
Visit our website: www.unog.ch/bwc
Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/1972BWC
Follow us on Twitter: @BWCISU #MSP2017 #1972BWC
For use of the information media; not an official record