UNODA convenes workshop on strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention implementation in Guinea

مايو 23rd, 2024

From 14 to 15 May 2024, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (Commission Nationale pour les armes légères et de petits calibres – COMNAT-ALPC) of the Republic of Guinea gathered thirty national stakeholders and decision makers from twenty-four national institutions to raise awareness about the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

This event took place after the Republic of Guinea attended UNODA regional workshop on the universalization and effective implementation of BWC in Western Africa, subsequent to which Guinea requested assistance under UNODA’s project aimed at bolstering the implementation of the BWC across Africa.

The workshop was the first assistance provided to Guinea since its accession to the BWC in 2016. Its key objectives were to raise awareness about the Convention and biosafety and biosecurity issues more broadly. Discussions focused in particular on the roles and responsibilities of the National Focal Points under the Convention and the preparation and submission of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) – two key areas for national ownership of the implementation process.

Participants included the Chief of Staff of Guinea’s Minister of Defense who inaugurated the workshop together with General Bambo Fofana, President of the COMNAT-ALPC, Mr. Gualbert Gbehounou, UN Resident Coordinator in Guinea, and representatives from the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union who supported the event. In his opening remarks, General Bambo Fofana highlighted the commitment of the Republic of Guinea to peace and security through the effective national implementation of the BWC.

International cooperation was a central part of the approach taken for the workshop, with representatives from the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Togo sharing insights and lessons learned on their respective experiences in implementing the BWC. This exchange of experience allowed Guinea to identify the  best practices and include them in their national implementation processes.  

A highlight of the workshop was the focus on preparing Guinea’s first Confidence Building Measures (CBM) report since joining the BWC. Facilitators led interactive exercises, ensuring that participants gained a good understanding of the objective and scope of CBMs, the six CBM forms and relevant information to be reported. In group discussions, participants also mapped national stakeholders that could potentially contribute to the national CBM reporting process, strengthening coordination across sectors in the country. Finally, participants established a national step-by-step approach to ensure the coordinated data collection and report preparation process.

The workshop concluded with a national discussion among stakeholders and an agreement to designate a National Contact Point. Participants made a collective decision to advance BWC implementation in Guinea, enhancing the prospects for sustained progress.