The Biological Weapons Convention



The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, commonly known as the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) or Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), opened for signature in 1972 and entered into force in 1975.

It was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons, as States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention undertook “never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:

1. microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes;

2. weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.”

The Convention effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons and is a key element in the international community’s efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The Biological Weapons Convention currently has 183 States Parties and four Signatory States. There are 10 States which have neither signed nor ratified the Convention. 

Latest News

  • Chairperson of the 2020 MSP – The Implementation Support Unit wrote a letter to all States Parties on 28 April informing them that Ambassador Azeez of Sri Lanka will no longer be able to serve as Chairperson of the 2020 Meeting of States Parties.
  • 45th anniversary of the BWC – 26 March 2020 marks the 45th anniversary of the entry into force of the Biological Weapons Convention. The occasion was marked by a message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the launch of the short video above. In addition, statements and other communications were issued by India, the Russian Federation (in Russian and English) and the United States of America, as well as the European Union.
  • Status of contributions – The Financial Resources Management Service of the United Nations Office at Geneva has provided a summary of the financial contributions to the four disarmament conventions, as at 29 February 2020. Detailed information pertaining to the contributions to the BWC is contained in Annex II of the document.
  • Status of contributions – The Financial Resources Management Service of the United Nations Office at Geneva has provided a summary of the financial contributions to the four disarmament conventions, as at 31 January 2020. Detailed information pertaining to the contributions to the BWC is contained in Annex II of the document.
  • Chairs for MX1 and MX2 – The Chairpersons of the 2020 Meeting of Experts on Cooperation and Assistance, with a Particular Focus on Strengthening Cooperation and Assistance under Article X (MX1) and the Meeting of Experts on Review of Developments in the Field of Science and Technology Related to the Convention (MX2) have been confirmed by States Parties. Mr. Kimmo Laukkanen of Finland and Mr. Kazuhiro Nakai of Japan were nominated as Chairs of MX1 and MX2 respectively by the Western Group. Nominations for the Chairpersons of the other three Meetings of Experts are still pending.
  • Status of contributions – The Financial Resources Management Service of the United Nations Office at Geneva has provided a summary of the financial contributions to the four disarmament conventions, as at 1 January 2020. Detailed information pertaining to the contributions to the 

 

Related Videos

  • 45th Anniversary of the BWC (video)