The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Workshop

“The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) – The Road to the Ninth Review Conference” Workshop kicked off in RACVIAC today.

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, usually referred to as the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) that entered into force in 1975, was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons. The question of a biological threat – whether purposely engineered or naturally occurring – as well as biological safety and security are more relevant  today than ever before.

Due to the significance of the topic, and upon request of RACVIAC Members, RACVIAC organized the workshop on the Biological Weapons Convention together with the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs – Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit (BWC ISU).

A better understanding of the BWC can contribute to regional and global stability, transparency and trust and can make the stakeholders more prepared for tackling bio threats in the future. In the run up to the Ninth BWC Review Conference it is even more essential to have a comprehensive picture of the basics of the Convention, the most burning issues, the most important players and the challenges which may affect the present and future of the BWC.

After welcoming the participants, speakers and co-organizers, Director of RACVIAC, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, said: “Our aim was to provide a broad overview of the Convention, the latest developments, lessons learned, to inform the participants about the implementation as well as the most burning present and future issues and also to prepare for and provide an outlook towards the Ninth Review Conference which will be held this year in Geneva.”

He also mentioned that the positive feedbacks and the interest shown by RACVIAC Members suggested it is worthwhile repeating it also this year, this time around as a hybrid event. He wished all valuable, rewarding and fruitful work in a professional and friendly atmosphere during the coming days.

MG (ret.) Bazo then passed the floor to Ms Ngoc Phuong van der Blij (Political Affairs Officer, UNODA BWC ISU) who also gave her Opening remarks.

Ms van der Blij mentioned that this activity was a great success when it was held last year. She also looked back on the COVID-19 pandemic that reflected the importance of the BWC. She encouraged the auditorium to participate actively in the workshop: “We are looking forward to hearing your views on this topics, we hope for fruitful discussion and we, therefore, welcome your comments and questions on the BWC. Feel free to raise your hand, feel free to comment, there are no stupid questions, there are no difficult comments, feel free to interrupt. I’m looking forward to discussions with all and each one of you!

The Opening session continued with a “tour the table” where the participants had an opportunity to introduce themselves and institutions they represent.

The two-day Workshop will comprise presentations, discussions as well as table-top exercises.