This section contains up to date information on the Biological Weapons Convention, efforts of States Parties, the work of the Chair and activities undertaken by the Implementation Support Unit.
- Fortieth anniversary of BWC entry into force - today, 26 March 2015, marks the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the BWC. The occasion has been marked by several high-level statements, including by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, by the African Union and a blog post by US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller.
- Andorra accedes to the BWC - The US Department of State has informed the ISU that Andorra deposited its instrument of accession to the BWC at the US Consulate in Barcelona on 27 February 2015. The BWC entered into force for Andorra upon receipt of the instrument in Washington, DC on 2 March 2015. As of this date, Andorra is therefore the 173rd State Party to the Convention.
- Chairman briefs regional groups - on Monday 16 March, the 2015 BWC Chairman, Ambassador Mazlan Muhammad of Malaysia, briefed the Group of NAM and Other States (09:00), the Eastern European Group (10.00) and the Western Group (11.00). His comments covered the approach to work in 2015, building on the work from 2012-14, promoting effective action, strengthening Article VII, the Meeting of Experts and ISU staffing.
- BWC 40th anniversary commemorative event - On 30 March 2015 in the Council Chamber in the Palais des Nations in Geneva a commemorative event will take place to mark the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the BWC. An invitation from the Chairman, Ambassador Muhammad of Malaysia, was sent to States Parties, Signatories and States not party to the BWC on 12 March. The invitation for NGOs and others can be found here. A webpage to mark the anniversary is available here where updated information about the commemoration will also be posted.
- Explanation of position by the Russian Federation - At the request of the Russian Federation, a document entitled "Explanation of Position by the Russian Federation" has been issued as a document of the 2014 Meeting of States Parties. The ISU has added the document to the list of official 2014 MSP documents and it can be found here.
- BWC on social media – As an extension of this website on the Biological Weapons Convention, the ISU also manages a presence for the Convention on Twitter and Facebook. Neither will replace formal communications with States Parties nor replace this website as the repository of BWC-related information and announcements, but they will be used to amplify items posted here and to raise awareness of the BWC. On Twitter follow @bwcisu and use the hashtag #1972BWC for the Convention, #biodisarm for general items relating to biological disarmament and, for the 2015 meetings, we suggest to use #BWCMX2015 and #BWCMSP2015. For tweets relating to the 40th anniversary of the BWC this year, we suggest #BWC40 and for the Eighth Review Conference next year, we suggest #BWCRC8. On Facebook the page on the BWC can be found at https://www.facebook.com/1972BWC
- Letter from Chairman - On 11 February the Chairman, Ambassador Muhammad of Malaysia, wrote to States Parties to outline his plans for the year. The letter included a number of specific requests for reflections, insights, and considerations.
- Mauritania accedes to the BWC - The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced on 4 February 2015 that the Islamic Republic of Mauritania deposited its instrument of accession to the BWC in London on 28 January 2015. As of this date, Mauritania is therefore the 172nd State Party to the Convention.
- The ISU is seeking to recruit two new members of the Unit - a P4 Political Affairs Officer for which the application closing date is 26 February and a P3 Political Affairs Officer for which the closing date is 5 March. Please click on the links for further information and the application procedure.
- ISU updates the "joining the BWC" webpage - The ISU has added more detailed practical information on how States can go about joining the BWC. The webpage now includes information on the relevant provisions of the Convention and on the functions of the Depository Governments. It also includes the contact details for each of the Depository Governments with whom instruments of ratification, accession or succession should be deposited and furthermore includes models of instruments of ratification, accession or succession. The updated webpage can be found via the navigation menu on the left, or here.
- ISU sends out CBM reminder letter - On 15 January the ISU sent States Parties the annual reminder letter that the deadline for the submission of CBMs to cover 2014 is 15 April 2015. (Please click on the following links to the cover letter and reminder letter).
- The 2014 Meeting of States Parties ended on 5 December 2014. The MSP concluded with the adoption of a final report comprising both a procedural section and a substantive section covering the three standing agenda items and the biennial item. The final report has been submitted for official document processing and will be translated into all UN official languages. It will be uploaded on the website as soon as the English version is available. A press release is available here.
- Myanmar ratifies the Biological Weapons Convention - the Russian Federation, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, as Depository Governments, confirmed that Myanmar ratified the Convention on 1 December 2014. this brings the membership of the BWC to 171 States Parties.
- Letter from Chairman - On 19 November 2014, the BWC Chair, Ambassador Urs Schmid wrote to States Parties regarding the preparations of the Meeting of States Parties.
- Change to ISU Staffing - The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs – Geneva - announces the appointment of Daniel Feakes as P-5 Chief, Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit (ISU) in Geneva. Mr. Feakes will succeed Mr. Richard Lennane in this task.
Mr. Feakes has a wealth of experience both in the field of disarmament and with international organizations. He is currently the Strategy and Policy Adviser in the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). From 2009 to 2013 he was a Senior Policy Officer in the OPCW’s Verification Division. At the OPCW, Daniel Feakes has also overseen education and outreach activities, been involved in the preparation and conduct of the Third Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention and has worked closely with partners in other international organizations, the scientific community and civil society.
Prior to 2009, Daniel spent 12 years as a Research Fellow with the Harvard Sussex Programme on Chemical and Biological Weapons where he worked on chemical and biological weapons issues and published widely on these topics.
Mr. Feakes holds a BA from the University of Sussex in History and German and a MA from the University of Sussex in Contemporary European Studies.
Born in 1973, Mr. Feakes is married and has three sons.
- Chair briefs regional groups - On Friday 7 November 2014, the 2014 Chair, Ambassador Urs Schmid of Switzerland, briefed the Eastern European Group (11.00) and the Western Group (15.00). On 11 November 2014, the Chair briefed the Group of NAM and Other States (16.30). His comments covered plans for the Meeting of States Parties, including introducing his letter of 7 October 2014.
- Letter from Chairman - On 7 October 2014, a letter from the BWC Chair, Ambassador Urs Schmid of Switzerland, has been sent to States Parties regarding the preparations of the Meeting of States Parties and other BWC relater matters.
- Letter from Chairman - On 29 September 2014 the BWC Chair, Ambassador Urs Schmid of Switzerland, wrote to States Parties about the nomination of the BWC Vice-Chair.
- Science and Technology Mini-University- On 31 July, 13:15-15:00, Palais des Nations Room XXII. Refer to the flyer for more information.
- Letter from BWC ISU - On 26 June the BWC ISU wrote to States Parties to provide information on registration for the Meeting of Experts due to be held in the United Nations Office at Geneva, 4-8 August 2014.
- Letter from Chairman - On 20 June, the 2014 BWC Chair, Urs Schmid of Switzerland, wrote to States Parties providing additional insights into his plans for Guests of the Meeting at the 2014 Meeting of Experts.
- Report on the Peer Review Pilot Exercise - France has drafted a Non Paper, reporting the pilot exercise illustrating a possible concept of a peer review mechanism in the framework of the BWC. Both English and French versions of the Non Paper are available online.
- Chair briefs regional groups - On Monday 16 June 2014, the 2014 Chair, Ambassador Urs Schmid of Switzerland, briefed the Eastern European Group (14.00), the Western Group (15.00) and the Group of NAM and Other States (16.30). His comments covered plans for the Meeting of Experts, including introducing his letter of 28 May 2014, expanding on his approach to the work of the meeting and introducing the informal, rolling detailed indicative schedule.
- Letter from Chairman - On 28 May, the 2014 BWC Chair, Urs Schmid of Switzerland, wrote to States Parties providing details of preparations for the Meeting of Experts, including on the programme of work, background papers, observers and guests of the meeting, sponsorship, registration and next steps.
- Temporary Head arrived in Geneva and change to the ISU staffing - On 15 May, a note verbale from UNODA was sent to the permanent missions of the BWC States Parties represented in Geneva to inform that Ms. Gabriele Kraatz-Wadzack, will, as of 15 May 2014, temporarily assume the functions of Head of the BWC ISU. The note further informed that Mr. Piers Millett, Political Affairs Officer and Acting Head of the BWC ISU will be leaving the Unit, effective 28 June 2014.
- Universalization event in New York - The Chairman will be hosting on 6 May 2014 a universalization event in New York. Details of the event can be found in the letter sent to all States that are not parties to the BWC or signatories, that are represented in New York.
- Letter from Chairman - On 16 April, a letter from the Chairman, Ambassador Schmid of Switzerland, was sent to the States Parties to inform that the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs had decided to dispatch Ms. Gabrielle Kraatz-Wadsack, Chief of their Regional Disarmament Branch as a temporary Head for the ISU during the recruitment of a permanent Head. This letter initiated a silence procedure with regards to the funding of this arrangement, with 2 May as a deadline for response.
- Chair briefs regional groups - on Friday 11 April the 2014 BWC Chair, Urs Schmid of Switzerland, briefed the Eastern European Group (13.15), the Western Group (14.00) and the Group of NAM and Other States (15.00). His comments covered plans for the Meeting of Experts, sponsorship and universalization, as well as background papers.
- Change to the ISU staffing - On 14 February, a letter from the ISU was sent to the States Parties to inform that, as of 1 March, the Head of the ISU, Mr. Richard Lennane will be leaving the Unit.
- Letter from Chairman - On 14 February the Chairman, Ambassador Schmid of Switzerland, wrote to States Parties to outline his plans for the year. The letter included a number of specific requests for reflections, insights, and considerations.
- BWC sends out CBM reminder letter - On 22 January the ISU sent States Parties the annual reminder letter that the deadline for the submission of CBMs to cover 2013 is 15 April 2014.
Related news and documents
- The BioWeapons Monitor 2014 - The 2014 edition of the BioWeapons Monitor was launched at a side event entitled 'Building a Web of Prevention: Progress to Date' on 1 December 2014 at the BWC Meeting of States Parties.
- Radio Briefing - On 30 November 2014 Radio New Zealand broadcasted a briefing on the upcoming BWC Meeting of States Parties featuring Dr Filippa Lentzos of King's College London.
- Risks and Benefits of Gain-of-Function Research: Upcoming Symposium - As part of the U.S. government's deliberative process on gain-of-function research, the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine have been charged to hold a public meeting on gain-of-function research. The event will take place on 15-16 December 2014. Further information is available here.
- A Workshop Report - The report of the 'Confidence and Compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)' Workshop held in Geneva on 3 August 2014 and jointly organised by King's College London and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy is now published. It will also be presented at a side event at the BWC Meeting of States Parties.
- A Report of the Meeting of Experts 2014 - A report from the Harvard Sussex Program on chemical and biological weapons has been published on the MX 2014.
- Workshop on Advances in Understanding Pathogenicity, Sunday 3 August 2014 - See the linked document for more information.
- A report on the Meeting of States Parties 2013 - A report from the Harvard Sussex Program on chemical and biological weapons has been published on the MSP 2013.
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