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Regional Seminars

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The project in support of the universalisation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) consisted of two major phases.

The second phase consisted of five regional seminars. The five regions as identified in the EU Joint Action were Southern and East Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands, Latin America and the Caribbean, West and Central Africa, and the Middle East.

The one and a half day meetings were structured around briefing sessions explaining the BWC and its contribution to regional security. The prevention of biological warfare and terrorism involving pathogens and toxins is also placed in the broader context of health and food security. A third dimension relates to benefits societies may accrue from biology and biotechnology. Nevertheless, the adoption of science and technology also entails responsibilities as they can be exploited for malicious purposes (which the BWC aims to prevent).

The seminars closed with in-depth discussions focusing on the experiences of the States not yet party to the BWC in the region. The three principal themes of those discussions related to:

    • development benefits and responsibility regarding biology and biotechnology;
    • regional security issues and the BTWC; and
    • legal and administrative requirements regarding ratification and accession to the BWC.
International experts on biological disarmament, experts and representatives from States Parties in the region, EU Member States, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission, as well as international organisations such as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the World Health Organization (WHO), were invited to introduce the different topics.

Five regional seminars have been held:
    • Southern and East Africa (Nairobi, Kenya, 21-22 June 2006);
    • Asia and the Pacific Islands (Bangkok, Thailand, 8-9 November 2006);
    • Latin America and the Caribbean (San José, Costa Rica, 18-19 January 2007);
    • West and Central Africa (Dakar, Senegal, 17-18 April 2007); and
    • Middle East (Rome, Italy, 16-17 April 2008)