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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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Geneva, Switzerland, 6 December 2010 - Secretary-General's message to meeting of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) [Delivered by Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva]

It is my pleasure to send greetings to the 2010 Meeting of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention as you begin the final meeting of the intersessional process established by the Sixth Review Conference in 2006.

That process has been very successful in promoting ways to strengthen the implementation of the Convention and to reduce the risks posed to global security by biological weapons and bioterrorism. In particular, it has produced common understandings that can serve as the basis for a wide range of national, regional and international actions.

Next year, the Seventh Review Conference will consider how to build upon this work. Indeed, that meeting offers the best chance in a decade or more to reach significant agreements on the future of the Convention. With the pace of advances in biological science and technology growing ever quicker, there is a pressing need for a structured and regular means of monitoring developments and assessing their implications.

While much is being done to promote assistance and cooperation for the peaceful uses of biological science and technology, more could still be done to improve coordination and communication. I wish you well as you consider various proposals aimed at exploring practical approaches for strengthening the Convention and promoting its full implementation.

You also face the challenge of achieving universal membership. Thirteen States have signed the Convention without ratifying it, and 19 States have yet to sign it at all. I call on those States that have not done so to sign and ratify the Convention without further delay.

I encourage you to work together to develop practical proposals for the Review Conference, and to build on the sense of common purpose that has emerged. I assure you of the continuing support of the United Nations for your important efforts to find new and innovative approaches to reducing biological risks and achieving biological disarmament goals worldwide. Please accept my best wishes for a productive meeting.

Statements on 6 December 2010