News from 2010

  • Chair provides information to regional groups – the Chairman provided this note to the three regional groups, outlining arrangements for the Meeting of States Parties (6-10 December 2010). Attached to the note was the proposed indicative schedule for the Meeting.
  • Chair writes to States Parties with agenda and synthesis paper – The Chairman wrote to States Parties on 15 October to outline his plans for the Meeting of States Parties (Geneva, 6-10 December 2010). Attached to the letter were advance versions of the provisional agenda for the Meeting of States Parties, and the Chairman’s synthesis paper.
  • Trilateral Civilian-Military Forum on Outbreak Response and Bioterrorism Investigation – From 19-21 October 2010 representatives from the United States of America, Romania and the Republic of Moldova will gather to promote interagency cooperation (including military-to-military, and military-to-civilian), coordination and synchronization for preparing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease outbreaks, whether natural, accidental, or deliberate in nature. The event will help to establish sustainable laboratory partnerships to enhance training and medical surveillance initiatives with host nation counterparts, strengthen core capacities required by the WHO International Health Regulations and existing national measures consistent with obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention and the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 to deter, prevent, or respond to biological incidents or threats.
  • Czech Republic offer to provide assistance in implementing BWC – The Czech Republic has honour to offer assistance to the State Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in implementing their BTWC obligations by sharing its own experience and capabilities. The Czech Republic offers, inter alia, to provide assistance to other State Parties in adopting administrative measures required for the full implementation of the BTWC and developing legislation to ensure national implementation, including regulatory frameworks for handling of biological pathogens and toxins. National authority of the Czech Republic (State Office for Nuclear safety) offers assistance in preparation of national Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and of computerized data collation as a basis for national CBMs. National inspectors working in established national inspection framework are prepared to share experiences with relevant national stakeholders from State Parties to help verify information declared in CBMs. The Czech Republic is also prepared to offer practical training courses for first responders, medical personnel or inspection teams including the necessary infrastructure, training facilities, investigation experts and national BTWC inspectors. For further information, please contact the Implementation Support Unit.
  • New Chairman appointed, writes to States Parties: On 12 July, Ambassador Pedro Oyarce of Chile was officially appointed as Chairman of the 2010 Meeting of Experts and Meeting of States Parties. The new Chairman wrote to States Parties the same day, outlining his plans for continuing the preparations for the Meeting of Experts (23-27 August). The letter included an indicative schedule for the meeting.
  • New course on WMD disarmament: a course on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction in a Changing World will be held in The Hague from 30 August to 3 September 2010. Developed by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut in partnership with the OPCW, this new 1-week summer programme aims to provide broad-based understanding of international WMD treaties for young professionals and advanced graduate students who aspire to careers in disarmament and non-proliferation. The inter-disciplinary course content will be delivered by specialized academics from institutes in the Netherlands and officials from the BWC Implementation Support Unit, CTBTO, IAEA, OPCW, and UN Office for Disarmament Affairs. For more information, interested applicants should visit the Asser Instituut website here.
  • Southern Caucasus Southern Caucasus Collaboration and Collaboration and Partnership in Countering Partnership in Countering Biological Threats – from 11-12 May 2010 the Southern Caucasus Bioshield 2010 workshop (US Department of Health and Human Services information) (Georgian National Center for Disease Control and Public Health information) and table-top exercise was held in Tbilisi, Georgia. It saw around 80 participants from governments, international organizations and non-governmental bodies, from both security and law enforcement sectors, gather to address multi-layered systems of defense for public health security. It also focused on epidemiological surveillance and investigations.
  • Chair addresses regional groups – on 29 & 30 March 2010, the Chairman briefed the regional groups on his plans for the year. He informed them that due to a change of Government in Chile he was no longer going to be able to chair the meetings. Measures are currently being put in place to ensure that there will be a suitable Chair as soon as possible. The remainder of the address provided an outline for the work of the BWC throughout 2010. Amb. Portales’ remarks highlighted how the topic can be broken down into national & international, as well as health & security aspects (see below & slide). The Chair also detailed preparations for the Meeting of Experts, including: the provision of background information; identifying international, regional and professional expertise; details of relevant national efforts; the different mechanisms for sharing information; as well as the provision of assistance for participation in the meeting. The briefing also covered efforts on universalization, CBMs, and preparations for the 7th Review Conference.
HealthNational capacity for public health/veterinary and humanitarian response
International public health/veterinary and humanitarian response channels
SecurityNational forensic investigation capacity
International mechanisms and assistance for investigation
  • Chair writes to States Parties on plans for 2010 – The letter, dated 25 February, focuses on a practical approach to 2010 and encourages States Parties to focus on the question “If a biological weapon were to be used tomorrow, how would we, the States Parties, individually and collectively respond”? The Chair points out that this topic will involve a wide range of actors and considerations and stresses the importance of being well prepared. He outlines how he intend to ensure the work of the BWC in 2010 follows the established practices and to engage all those who will need to be involved to ensure another successful outcome. The letter discusses the Chair’s intentions on universalization and identifies a range of efforts he will be pursuing over the coming months. It also includes a reminder of the CBM submission deadline and an enquiry as to the best way to proceed on preparations for the Seventh Review Conference in 2011.
  • ISU off to a busy start in 2010 – During February the ISU contributed to four events in three continents. They participated in the 1540 workshop in Nairobi, Kenya (1-5 February 2010), a biosafety and biosecurity event in Mainz, Germany (6 February), the Second Regional South Asian International Humanitarian Law Conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh (15-18 February) and Biosafety and Biosecurity: Implementing the Recommendations Relevant to the Biological Weapons Convention, in Kiev, Ukraine (15-17 February).