Implementation Support Unit

And perhaps most historically of all, we have agreed to establish an Implementation Support Unit to assist us in implementing the decisions of this Conference. For many years, the States Parties have debated the need for institutional support for the Convention. Now we have it, built not on a political argument, nor on a perception that “something is better than nothing”, but on the solid basis of the positive and practical contribution the temporary secretariat has made over the past three years.
Ambassador Masood Khan, President of the Sixth BWC Review Conference (2006)

The Implementation Support Unit (ISU) was established within the Geneva Branch of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs after the Sixth Review Conference in 2006 to provide administrative support to meetings agreed by the Review Conference as well as comprehensive implementation and universalization of the Convention and the exchange of confidence-building measures.

The Seventh Review Conference in 2011 renewed the mandate of the ISU until the Eighth Review Conference in 2016. The Eighth Review Conference renewed the ISU’s mandate until the Ninth Review Conference in 2021.

Key tasks of the ISU 

Administrative support and assistance

  • Forms the core of the Secretariat ofmeetings of the BWC
  • Supports the work of the office-holders of BWC meetings
  • Maintains and develops the BWC website 
  • Interacts with relevant international organizations
  • Interacts with scientific and academic institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations
  • Attends relevant meetings and events

National implementation support and assistance

  • Serves as an information exchange point for national implementation
  • Collates details of national measures to implement all aspects of the Convention, as well as biosafety and biosecurity obligations
  • Receives and distributes reports on the implementation of Article X by States Parties
  • Assists States Parties in meeting the obligations to translate the BWC into effective domestic measures
  • Acts as a clearinghouse for assistance with national implementation

Support and assistance for Confidence-Building Measures

  • Receives and distributes confidence-building measures(CBMs) to/from States Parties
  • Sends information notices to States Parties regarding their annual submissions
  • Compiles and distributes data on CBMs (and reports on participation at each Meeting of States Parties)
  • Serves as an information exchange point for assistance related to the preparation of CBMs
  • Facilitates activities to promote participation in the CBM process
BWC Meetings of Experts in Geneva, 2018
Regional Universalization Workshop in Fiji, 2018
Article VII/BWC Seminar in Geneva, 2018

Support and assistance for obtaining universality

  • Assists the annual Chairs in the activities mandated to them by the Review Conferences 
  • Assists States Parties in conducting the activities that they agreed at Review Conferences
  • Conducts outreach with Signatories and States not party
  • Maintains details of progress towards universality  
  • Reports to the annual Meetings of States Parties

Administers the database for assistance requests and offers and facilitates associated exchanges of information

  • Administers and maintains a database containing requests for, and offers to provide assistance  
  • Reports to States Parties on matches made and the operation of the database
  • Liaises with other assistance providers

Supports States Parties’ efforts to implement the decisions and recommendations of the review conference

  • Administers the sponsorship programme to support and increase the participation of developing States Parties in BWC meetings, funded by voluntary contributions from States Parties 
  • Consults with the Chair and Vice-Chairs on the sponsorship programme

Activities overseen by the ISU

For more information on activities overseen by the BWC ISU please click here. The most recent annual report of the Implementation Support Unit is available here. For access to previous reports please refer to the ODA Meetings Place. 

Contact Details 

  • Tel: +41 (0) 22 917 22 30
  • General ISU e-mail:
  • Twitter: @bwcisu