7 November 2016

Secretary-General Warns of Glaring Gaps in Ability to Prevent, Respond to Catastrophic Biological Attack, at Review Conference Opening

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message to the opening of the Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention, in Geneva today:

Ambassador György Molnár, President of the Review Conference, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to send greetings to this important Review Conference.  You meet in a rapidly evolving security environment, marked by revolutionary technological and scientific change.  States parties need to grapple with the growing risks of a biological attack.

The deliberate release of a biological agent would be a global health and humanitarian catastrophe.  Yet there are glaring gaps in our ability to both prevent and respond to this nightmare scenario.

I also encourage States parties to address the vital question of how to promote advances in life sciences that benefit all humanity, while safeguarding against their use for malicious purposes.

This Review Conference is an opportunity to guarantee that the BWC remains fit for purpose.  I count on all States parties to take the necessary decisions to make the Convention strong.

For information media. Not an official record.