On 2 December 2021, the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) conducted an online workshop for CARICOM Member States on national implementing legislation under the Convention. The workshop was part of a project funded by the United Kingdom aimed at strengthening national implementation of the BWC in the region.
In order to fully implement the Biological Weapons Convention, its States Parties are obliged to translate the commitments found in the Convention into effective national action. Specifically, its article IV obliges States Parties to take any measures, including legislation, that may be needed to implement the provisions of the Convention domestically.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Daniel Feakes, Chief of the BWC ISU, highlighted that, as part of the project, CARICOM Member States that are interested in developing BWC implementing legislation could receive targeted assistance. Next, Ms. Fanny Tonos Paniagua, BWC ISU project consultant, explained the importance and benefits of national implementing legislation, outlining different approaches that States can take when putting such measures in place.
Mr. Thomas Brown, Legal Officer at the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC) introduced the key elements and provisions of national implementing legislation under the BWC.
Mr. Talkmore Maruta, Senior Biosafety and Biosecurity officer at the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) then went on to describe the benefits of a regional approach in the development of biosafety and biosecurity legislation, highlighting the experience of African States in this context.
This was followed by two more presentations that highlighted the linkages between obligations under the BWC and United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) and the synergies in their implementation, which were delivered by Mr. Nicolas Dapena, Legal Consultant with the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the Organization of American States (CICTE-OAS)and Mr. Scott Spence, a member of the group of experts of the 1540 Committee, respectively.
Through interactive exercises, the workshop participants identified specific areas of interest , challenges and next steps to support interested CARICOM Member States in enhancing domestic implementation of the Convention as well as strengthening biosafety and biosecurity efforts in the region.