Assistance, Response and Preparedness

Aims and Objectives

This project aims to enhance the capacity of selected States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) to prevent and respond to a biological weapons attack. It should lead to the following expected results:

  • enhanced implementation of Article VII of the BWC and to a better understanding of the practical challenges facing its implementation

  • strengthened international response capabilities for infectious disease outbreaks, whether natural or deliberate

  • strengthened capacities in selected States Parties for detecting, reporting and responding to outbreaks of infectious disease or biological weapons attacks, including in the areas of preparedness, response, and crisis management and mitigation

  • strengthened capacity under the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation and Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons, as well as promoting the importance of strong national health systems as a deterrent against the potential use of biological weapons


After a call for applications was issued in February 2019 and circulated amongst the Permanent Missions of eligible BWC States Parties in Geneva, the following four beneficiaries have been selected:

  • Fiji
  • Nigeria
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan

Under this project, capacity development will be provided by experts and relevant international organisations in assistance and protection, in the format of training courses, tabletop exercises and/or national or sub-regional workshops. Through this project, States Parties will be able to examine cross-government decision making mechanisms, and information exchange and provision of assistance between relevant national and international organisations in order to prevent and mitigate the risks and the impact of a potential attack involving biological agents.

This project will also include an initial expert workshop to explore needs in relation to the implementation of Article VII of the BWC and to design activities to meet these needs, which will be built into subsequent activities under this project. The activities will build upon activities undertaken by relevant actors such as the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence.

Sampling and decontamination drills at a first responder exercise.
(Photo credit: Spiez Laboratory)