At UN, parties to Biological Weapons Convention plan to review effectiveness

28 April 2006 –

States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention, ending their meeting at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva today, decided that the next review of the treaty's effectiveness, and any actions that need to be taken to strengthen it, will open in the same Swiss city this November.

Formally called the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, the Convention proscribes Member States from developing, otherwise acquiring or retaining biological or toxin weapons.

It is a key element in the international community's efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, according to the preparatory committee for the review conference, which was chaired by Ambassador Masood Khan of Pakistan.

The Convention, which opened for signature in 1972 and entered into force in 1975, is the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons. It currently has 155 States parties, with a further 16 having signed but not yet ratified.

The preparatory committee met from 26 to 28 April as requested by States Parties at its last review in 2002.

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