SUPPORTING UNIVERSALIZATION AND EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION IN AFRICA (2022 – 2026)
A four-year project implemented by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs with funding from the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction
Video credits: The Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, Pexels.com
Several States Parties from Africa have indicated a need for assistance to enhance the domestic implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). With the increasing demand for assistance throughout the region, it was necessary to establish a longer-term engagement with, and continued support to, countries on the continent. The Signature Initiative to Mitigate Biological Threats in Africa which was launched by the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction (Global Partnership, or GP) in 2020 therefore provided a timely opportunity for the BWC Implementation Support Unit (ISU) to seek financial support for a project that comprehensively supports requests from African countries in their efforts to strengthen the Convention’s implementation and promote its universalization.
Implementing the BWC also contributes to strengthening States’ capacities for early warning, risk reduction and management of health risks, thus supporting progress towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 – Good health and well-being. The importance of preparedness has also been demonstrated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has shown the vulnerability of modern societies to large-scale disease outbreaks and the need to proactively address biothreats.
The project aims to increase BWC membership and enhance its implementation in Africa by
Promoting universalization of the Convention
Providing assistance for the development of BWC implementing legislation
Supporting the preparation and submission of Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs)
Facilitating the establishment or designation of National Contact Points (NCPs)
The project will have a duration of four years, from 2022 until 2026.
The project will be implemented by the BWC ISU in close collaboration with requesting States, regional and sub-regional partners, as well as assistance providers, to benefit from synergies and ensure coordination with related initiatives, such as those supporting the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1540, the Biosafety and Security Initiative 2021-2025 of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the respective European Union Council Decisions in support of the BWC.
Support will be provided to African States interested in joining the BWC or in enhancing its domestic implementation in line with identified plans, priorities and needs through a combination of regional, sub-regional and national activities focusing on the following:
- Raising awareness among policy-makers and other key stakeholders of the importance of the BWC and the key elements for its universalization, effective Implementation, including national legislation, CBMs and NCPs.
- Providing training to government officials and NCPs on the BWC, related national implementing measures, as well as the associated roles and responsibilities in order to facilitate the designation of NCPs and the effective performance of their tasks.
- Support in the preparation and submission of CBMs, as well as sharing best practices from other States Parties.
- Research, assessment and drafting assistance for reviewing, amending, developing and/or enacting BWC implementing legislation.
- Developing outreach and reference material for use by national stakeholders in support of their efforts to raise awareness, disseminate information and improve understanding of the BWC and related implementation requirements.
Assistance will be available to all African States interested in receiving support for joining the BWC and/or enhancing its implementation.
At the national level, African States will benefit from tailored support to address their needs and priorities for enhancing BWC implementation and improving coordination. Furthermore, African States will benefit from an increased awareness, understanding and expertise about the BWC among national biosafety, biosecurity and non-proliferation stakeholders.
At the regional and sub-regional level, African States will benefit from an exchange of national experiences in implementing the BWC and achieving the benefits of full and effective implementation.
At the international level, enlarged BWC membership and improved implementation in Africa will significantly strengthen the global norm against the deliberate use of disease.
How to engage?
All African States interested in receiving support for joining the BWC and/or enhancing its implementation are encouraged to nominate participants for the regional events which will be conducted under the project and to contact the ISU to discuss their needs and plans in more detail.
Partners may contribute to project activities by providing funding or expertise and are encouraged to contact the ISU to discuss opportunities for collaboration in more detail.
For more information on the project, please contact the BWC Implementation Support Unit at the address BWC@un.org.