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BWC News 2011 - 2014




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  • 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.


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  • President-designate addresses regional groups - on 29 November the President-designate met with each of the regional groups and introduced the provisional indicative programme of work, provided details of practical arrangements for the review conference and answered questions and queries. His talking points are now available.
  • President-designate writes to States Parties - In a pair of letters, the first dated 17 November, the President-designate wrote to States Parties to update them on preparations for the review conference. The letter included a draft provisional indicative programme of work, details of registration and credential procedures as well as information on further consultations. A second letter, dated 18 November, announced another open ended consultation - this time on a new intersessional process. The consultation is due to take place from 13:30 to 15:00 on Wednesday 23 November 2011, in Room XXV.
  • The Nonproliferation Review available now! – The Special Issue: Global Perspectives on Re-envisioning the Biological Weapons Convention is the product of a joint project of the European Union Institute for Security Studies and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Collaboration of Taylor and Francis, the publisher of the journal, have made the contents of this special issue available for those involved with the review conference FREE OF COST!
  • The NIH on behalf of the US government is sponsoring an international Workshop The Intersection of Science and Security: a Case Study Approach, Continuing the global dialogue with the scientific and science policy community: focus on Asia and the Western Pacific on December 9, 2011, 1:00-4:30 PM on the NIH main campus. The event is being hosted by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, an advisory committee to the NIH Director, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Cabinet-level Departments and Agencies that fund or conduct life sciences research. The purpose of the Workshop is to give attendees a greater understanding of dual use research, including an awareness of strategies for managing dual use research of concern and an appreciation of how these issues are being addressed around the globe and, especially in Asia and the Western Pacific. We hope that you will be able to participate. The attached flyer provides general information about the Workshop and the agenda provides detailed information about the distinguished presenters and panelists from Asia, the Western Pacific and the United States. For more information please visit http://oba.od.nih.gov/biosecurity/internationalwebcast.html and register at http://oba.od.nih.gov/biosecurity/biosecurity_meetings.html.
  • Burundi ratifies the Biological Weapons Convention - London confirmed Burundi's ratification on 18 October 2011. This brings the membership of the BWC to 165 States Parties.
  • President-designate meets regional groups - The President-designate met the three regional groups between 23 and 28 September 2011 to discuss preparations for the Seventh Review Conference. The President-designate's speaking notes for these meetings are available here.
  • Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Program - PEER is a new partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) that is designed to address development challenges through international research collaboration. This competitive grants program will allow scientists in developing countries to apply for funds to support research and capacity-building activities in partnership with their NSF-funded collaborators on topics of importance to USAID. Areas in which both NSF and USAID have strong mutual interests include, but are not limited to, the following: Food security topics; Global health issues such as ecology of infectious disease, biomedical engineering, and natural/human system interactions; Climate change impacts such as water sustainability, hydrology, ocean acidification, climate process and modeling, and environmental engineering; Other development topics including disaster mitigation, biodiversity, water, and renewable energy. The PEER application form, proposal preparation instructions, and FAQs are available online at http://www.nationalacademies.org/peer. Applicants who have questions after reviewing these materials are encouraged to contact PEER staff by e-mail at peer@nas.edu or by telephone at +1-202-334-3656 or +1-202-334-1728.

  • Informal briefing on the Implementation Support Unit: As part of preparations for the Seventh Review Conference, the President-designate has invited all States Parties and signatories to an informal briefing on the ISU, to be held from 11:30-13:00 on Wednesday 7 September in Room XII. The briefing will cover the origins, mandate, structure, financing and operations of the ISU, and will provide an opportunity for delegations to ask questions and seek clarifications on various aspects which may be relevant in deciding the future of the Unit.
  • Course on Applied Dual-Use Biosecurity, Biosafety and Bioethics - The Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Bradford are pleased to announce the delivery of a university-level accredited pilot course on applied dual-use biosecurity, biosafety and bioethics that is intended to benefit an international audience and will be given at the Carleton University in Ottawa from September 19-30, 2011. This collaborative course is the first step in the development of a joint curriculum on biosafety, biosecurity and bioethics for life scientists. The intention of the course is to help participants develop an understanding of the concepts of biosafety and biosecurity in the laboratory setting, and highlight the ethical, legal and social relevance of dual-use biosecurity. The course will cover approaches to biosafety and biosecurity risk assessment; risk mitigation strategies; capacity building for biosafety, biosecurity, and bioethics training; and the range of issues surrounding the responsible use of dual-use biotechnology. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive a Certificate of Participation from the Public Health Agency of Canada and be awarded 30 UK Higher Education Master’s-level credits and a Certificate of Continuing Education from the University of Bradford. These credits may be transferable. The deadline for submitting applications is August 26th, 2011. Please take advantage of this unique opportunity by completing the attached application form as space is limited to a maximum of 40 participants. Applications will be considered and selected participants will be notified by September 2nd, 2011. Please note that the course will be offered in English only. We also encourage you to distribute this email to any of your colleagues who may be interested in applying. A registration form for the course is now available in both English and French.
  • President-designate writes to States Parties - The President-designate has written to States Parties on efforts to expand treaty membership and progress in preparing for the review conference. The letter, dated 6 June 2011, covered: requests for inputs for background documents; the development of substantive proposals; and information on universalization.
  • Mozambique joins the Biological Weapons Convention - Mozambique deposited its instrument of accession in London on 29 March 2011, becoming a State Party to the BWC and bringing the membership of the treaty to 164. The President-designate of the Seventh Review Conference of the BWC, Ambassador Paul van den IJssel (Netherlands), warmly welcomed the accession, saying "I congratulate the Government of Mozambique on taking this important step to join the efforts of the international community to strengthen international security by ensuring that biological science and technology is used only for the benefit of people around the world". The President-designate added that by acceding to the BWC Mozambique was setting an example for other African states which are yet to join the treaty. "Mozambique's action demonstrates that the treaty is relevant and provides concrete benefits for security and development, especially in Africa", he said. "I look forward to welcoming the delegation of Mozambique to the Seventh Review Conference as a State Party to the BWC, and to working with Mozambique to further the aims of the treaty in Africa and around the world".
  • President-designate meets regional groups - The President-designate met the three regional groups between 17 and 25 February 2011 for an initial consultation and exchange of views on preparations for the Seventh Review Conference. The President-designate's speaking notes for these meetings are available here.
  • President-designate writes to States Parties - The President-designate of the Seventh Review Conference, Ambassador Paul van den IJssel of the Netherlands, wrote to States Parties on 25 January 2011 to outline his plans for preparing for the Seventh Review Conference.
  • President-designate meets United Nations Secretary-General - The President-designate met the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in Geneva on 25 January on 2011, and invited him to address the opening of the Seventh Review Conference.