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Regional Workshop for the Pacific Region Nadi, Fiji, 27-28 July 2017

(A detailed report of the workshop is available here)

On 27 and 28 July 2017 Fiji hosted a regional workshop on universalization of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). With five States in the Pacific region not yet party to the BWC (Kiribati, Micronesia, Niue, Samoa and Tuvalu), the main objective of the regional workshop was to raise awareness of the BWC in the region and to promote the efforts of these states towards accession to the Convention. Around 40 participants from across the region attended the workshop.

The workshop was organized in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the BWC with financial backing from the European Union. The financial support was part of EU Council Decision 2016/51, a three-year grant totalling EUR 2.3 million to support the universalization and implementation of the BWC.

Mr Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, the Minister of Defence and National Security of Fiji, opened the workshop with a statement. Mr Corrado Pampaloni, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation for the Pacific and Chargé d’Affaires, and Ms Ellen Alradi, Senior Peace and Development Advisor in the UN Multi-Country Office in Fiji also made opening remarks at the workshop. The three Depositary Governments of the BWC, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, also contributed to the workshop.

The representative from Samoa, one of the five States yet to join the BWC, informed the workshop that Samoa’s instrument of accession to the BWC had been submitted to the Government’s legal adviser, an indication that Samoa is on track to join the Convention soon.

Staff of UNODA and the ISU gave briefings on the provisions of the BWC, the rights and obligations of States Parties and the types of assistance available to States that join the Convention. Representatives from States Parties such as the host country Fiji, Australia, Nauru and Vanuatu shared their experiences with BWC implementation, while representatives of Kiribati, Niue, Samoa and Tuvalu spoke about their countries’ efforts to join the BWC. A representative of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretariat briefed participants on the role of the PIF as a regional platform for discussions on disarmament issues. In addition, two experts from civil society contributed to the workshop from the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC) and from Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA).

Building on the momentum achieved by the workshop, the BWC Implementation Support Unit will continue to engage with all participants to promote the universalization of the Convention in the Pacific.

The day before the regional workshop, UNODA and the ISU participated in a national workshop organized by Fiji for domestic stakeholders. Its key objective was to lay out a proposal for a national authority for BWC implementation in Fiji.

A detailed report of the workshop is available here

27 July 2017
08:1509:00Workshop Registration
09:0009:30Workshop Opening

H. E. Mr Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister for Defence & National Security, Fiji

Mr Corrado Pampaloni, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation for the Pacific and Chargé d'Affaires

Ms Ellen Alradi, Senior Peace and Development Advisor, Office of the Resident Coordinator, UN Multi-Country Office Suva

Statements by Depositary States

o Russian Federation (written statement)

o Ms Lourdes Costacamps, Program Specialist, Office of the Biological Policy Staff, State Department, USA

o United Kingdom (written statement)

Dr Alex Lampalzer, BWC Implementation Support Unit

9:309:45EU Council Decision 2016/51 in support of the BWCDr Jean Pascal Zanders, Political Affairs Officer, UNODA (Geneva)
09:4510:30The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC): An Introductory OverviewDr Alex Lampalzer
10:3011:15Biological weapons in historical context:

Background and origins of the BWC

Dr Jean Pascal Zanders
11:1511:45Coffee break / Group photo
11:4512:30BWC in the regional context

BWC in the regional context

Ms Angela Woodward, Deputy Executive Director, VERTIC

Ms Lorraine Kershaw, International Legal Adviser, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

12:3014:00Lunch break
14:0014:30Accession to the BWC: Vanuatu’s experience Ms Jenny Tevi, Acting Head, Treaties and Conventions Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vanuatu
14:3015:00On the road to accession: Samoa’s experienceMr Lemalu Lemi Taefu, Associate Minister for Natural Resources and Environment; Member of Parliament, Samoa
15:0015:30Implementing the BWC: Fiji’s experienceMr Joji Dumukuro, Senior Defence Adviser, Fiji
15:3016:00Coffee break
16:0016:30Australian Domestic Pathogen Security: The Security Sensitive Biological Agents Regulatory SchemeMr Vincent Matassa, First Secretary Political-Economic, Australia High Commission Suva
16:3017:00Regional Efforts to Mitigate Biological ThreatsProfessor Rajendra Prasad, Fiji National University, Lautoka Campus
17:1518:00Plenary discussion: Biological weapons, health security, and the environment Introduction by:

Dr Jean Pascal Zanders (Moderator)

18:0018:15Daily Wrap Up
18:3020:30Reception hosted by the Fiji BWC National Authority
28 July 2017
09:0009:45After accession/succession: The benefitsDr Jean Pascal Zanders
09:4510:45After accession/succession: The obligationsDr Alex Lampalzer
10:4511:15Coffee break
11:1511:45BWC in the broader context of international legal instrumentsMs Angela Woodward
11:4512:30Cooperation and assistance: Expectations from a State PartyMs Darina Jacob, Foreign Service Officer, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Nauru
14:0014:45National implementation Ms Angela Woodward
14:4515:30The role of parliamentarians and other stakeholders in BWC universalisation and implementation Mr Peter Barcroft, Director of Peace & Democracy Programme, Parliamentarians for Global Action
15:3016:00Coffee break
16:0017:00Plenary discussion: Universalising the BWC in the Pacific region Reflections by Representatives from Non-State Parties

Dr Jean Pascal Zanders (Moderator)

17:0017:30Closing remarks

Dr Alex Lampalzer, BWC Implementation Support Unit

Mr Osea Cawaru, Permanent Secretary of Defence and National Security, Fiji

19:0021:00Farewell reception hosted by the Fiji BWC National Authority