Biological Weapons Convention

2011 Comprehensive Review Conference

This page links to resources and press releases related to the Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention.

  • 22 December 2011

    Seventh Review Conference of Biological Weapons Convention Adopts Final Document

    Final Document Includes Final Declaration and Decisions and Recommendations

    In the decisions and recommendations, the Review Conference retains the previous structures of annual Meetings of States Parties preceded by annual Meetings of Experts; makes cooperation and assistance, a review of developments in the field of science and technology, and strengthening national implementation all Standing Agenda Items to be discussed during the intersessional period; establishes a database system to facilitate requests for and offers of exchange of assistance and cooperation among States parties; establishes a sponsorship programme to increase the participation of developing States parties in the meetings of the intersessional programme; adopts revised reporting forms for all Confidence Building Measure submissions; requests States parties to promote universalization of the Convention through bilateral contacts and regional and multilateral activities; and renews the mandate of the Implementation Support Unit from 2012 to 2016.
    An advance copy of the Final Document is available here.
  • 16 December 2011

    Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference Notes Report of the Committee of the Whole

    Review Conference Will Start to Discuss the Draft Final Document and Draft Decisions and Recommendations Annexed to the Report

    Mr. Van Den Ijssel said the draft final document and the draft decisions and recommendations were annexed to the report. The draft decisions and recommendations had been drawn from various sources, including the proposals in working papers, discussions and additional proposals heard in the informal plenaries, the work of the three facilitators, and in some cases from forward-looking elements of the discussion in the Committee of the Whole. The draft text of the decisions and recommendations had not introduced any new proposals; everything had been discussed at this Conference, although perhaps not in the precise form in which it appeared. There was an attempt to include each and every proposal made at this Conference in some way in the text.
  • 7 December 2011

    Seventh Review Conference of Biological Weapons Convention Hears from Foreign Minister of the Netherlands and Secretary of State of the United States

    Uri Rosenthal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, said that curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and promoting arms control and disarmament were central components of Dutch foreign policy. The proliferation of biological and other weapons of mass destruction was a major threat to international peace and stability. The threat of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups, rogue States and organized criminal networks had strongly increased over the last couple of years. The interlinkage between terrorists groups and organized crime and their connection with rogue regimes was the more worrisome. The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention was one of the three fundamental pillars of the international community's efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction. The Netherlands therefore attached great importance to the Convention. The danger of bioloigical terrorism was only too real. The Netherlands was honoured to be presiding over this Review Conference.
    Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States, said that President Obama had made it a top goal of this administration to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The United States viewed the risk of a biological weapons attack as both a serious national security challenge and a foreign policy priority. Ms. Clinton noted that one of the unsung successes of the Convention was that it had ingrained a norm among States against biological weapons so that even countries that had never joined the Convention could no longer claim that acquiring biological weapons was a legitimate goal. Although some in the international community had had their doubts about the odds of a mass biological attack or major outbreak the United States had reached no such conclusions. The United States remained convinced that, given the nature of bio-weapons technology, it was not possible to create a verification regime that would achieve this goal. However, she urged the Convention's annual reporting system to be revised and said that countries should also take measures to demonstrate transparency.
  • 6 December 2011

    Seventh Review Conference of Biological Weapons Convention Concludes Second Day of General Debate

    During the general debate, speakers said that the promotion of Confidence Building Measures was one of the crucial points of this three-week Conference. Several speakers also supported continuing the intersessional meetings that had proven very useful. Speakers called upon all States that had not yet joined the Convention to do so soon. There was great merit in conducting more frequent assessments of ongoing scientific and technological developments and to working to ensure that the Convention could keep pace with these rapid developments. Moreover, it was necessary that all States parties reviewed their laws from time to time to ensure that they were adequate to the threat posed.
  • 6 December 2011

    Seventh Review Conference of Biological Weapons Convention Starts Second Day of its General Debate

    Speakers said that the Biological Weapons Convention was an important pillar of the global security architecture which needed to be preserved and strengthened. The Seventh Review Conference, by bringing together representatives of Governments, independent experts, academia, as well as non-governmental organizations presented an exceptional opportunity to further streamline activities beyond the community on disarmament. There should be an intensification of efforts towards the universalization of the Convention as only nine additional States had joined it in the past five years. Some States referred to the rapid advances in biological science and technology and the dual-use nature of biotechnology which made it increasingly difficult to draw a clear distinction between the peaceful and prohibited uses of biological materials. The Convention should keep abreast of these developments to effectively counter new emerging threats and some States noted that the five-yearly review seemed to be insufficient to meet this challenge.
  • 5 December 2011

    Secretary-General's video message to the Seventh Review Conference of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention

  • 5 December 2011

    Seventh Review Conference of Biological Weapons Convention Opens

    The Seventh Review Conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction this morning opened its three-week session at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
  • 1 December 2011

    Global Ban on Biological Weapons to be Reviewed and Strengthened

    Representatives of the 165 States parties to the Biological Weapons Convention will meet in Geneva from 5 to 22 December 2011 for the seventh five-yearly review of the treaty. The Biological Weapons Convention prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons and is a key element – along with the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention – in the international community's efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Seventh Review Conference will see States parties review the operation of the Biological Weapons Convention, consider the intersessional work held since the last review in 2006, address relevant developments in science and technology, and discuss future activities.
  • 18 April 2011

    Letter on Universalization of the Biological Weapons Convention

    In April 2011, His Excellency Uri Rosenthal, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands wrote to his counterparts in countries currently outside of the regime. The letter not only encourages these states to join the treaty but highlights the lack of financial implications and the availability of assistance to facilitate the process.
  • 18 April 2011

    International Workshop on Developing Practical Proposals for the Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention - Co-chairs' Summary

  • 15 April 2011

    BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION MEETING PREPARES FOR 2011 COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW

    States Parties Look Ahead to the Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention to Review its Operation and Explore Follow-up Action

    The Preparatory Committee considered and agreed upon the following with respect to the Seventh Review Conference: date and duration; a provisional agenda; draft rules of procedure; background documentation; publicity; final documents; appointment of a provisional Secretary-General; as well as financial arrangements for the Review Conference. The Preparatory Committee meeting marks the beginning of a process for the 163 States Parties to the BWC to review the objectives and provisions of the Convention.
  • 12 April 2011

    BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION MEETING TO PREPARE FOR 2011 COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW

    States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention to Meet in Geneva to Prepare for the Forthcoming Seventh Review Conference of the Convention

    States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) will be meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from 13 to 15 April 2011 at the Preparatory Committee for the Seventh Review Conference of the BWC. The meeting is the first time States Parties will have met since the successful conclusion in December 2010 of a four-year process designed to enhance the implementation of this important international instrument. According to the 163 States Parties to this treaty, biological weapons are "repugnant to the conscience of mankind".
  • 25 January 2011

    Secretary-General Meets President of 7th BWC Review Conference

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) meets with Paul van den IJssel, President-designate of the 7th Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), in Geneva, Switzerland.