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Assistance, Response & Preparedness


Convention Provisions

Article VII of the Convention reads as follows: “Each State Party to this Convention undertakes to provide or support assistance, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, to any Party to the Convention which so requests, if the Security Council decides that such Party has been exposed to danger as a result of violation of the Convention.”

Additional understandings and agreements reached at previous review conferences

Additional understandings and agreements reached by States Parties on Article VII at previous review conferences relate broadly to the issues of implementation of these provisions and of global health security. In this context, topics addressed by the additional understandings and agreements cover inter alia, aspects related to preparedness both at national and international level; capacity building to strengthen the States Parties’ ability to detect and respond; the question of the provision of assistance pending a decision by the United Nations Security Council; the possible role of the United Nations and coordination with other international organizations; required assistance measures and the need for procedures for the provision of assistance; the lessons deriving from the international response to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in 2014-2015, and the relationship between health and security. The full text of these additional understandings and agreements can be found in document BWC/MSP/2018/MX.4/2 (see Annex I).

Common Understandings reached by States Parties during previous intersessional programmes

In the context of the intersessional programme between 2012 and 2015, the States Parties considered the topic ‘How to strengthen implementation of Article VII, including consideration of detailed procedures and mechanisms for the provision of assistance and cooperation of states Parties,’ as a biennial item at both the Meetings of Experts and the Meetings of States Parties in 2014 and 2015. The common understandings reached by States Parties in 2014 and 2015 are reproduced in document BWC/MSP/2018/MX.4/2 (see Annex II).

Prior to that, during the intersessional programme from 2007 to 2010, States Parties considered the topic of ‘enhancing international capabilities for responding to, investigating and mitigating the effects of cases of alleged use of biological or toxin weapons or suspicious outbreaks of disease’, at both the Meeting of Experts and the Meeting of States Parties in 2004. The common understandings reached on this topic by States Parties in 2004 can be found in document BWC/MSP/2004/3.They further addressed the topic of ‘Provision of assistance and coordination with relevant organizations upon request by any State Party in the case of alleged use of biological or toxin weapons, including improving national capabilities for disease surveillance, detection and diagnosis and public health systems,’ at the Meeting of Experts and the Meeting of States Parties in 2010. The common understandings reached on this topic by States Parties in 2010 can be found in document BWC/CONF.VII/INF.6.