Strengthening biosafety and biosecurity capabilities in Africa through increased regional coordination

Presently, seven African States have not yet ratified or acceded to the BWC, these include Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Somalia and South Sudan. The African continent is therefore a priority area in terms of the universalization of the Convention. Furthermore, over the last years, several States Parties from Africa have indicated a need for assistance to enhance the implementation of the BWC across the continent.

To coordinate the response to these needs, UNODA with the generous support of the European Union has increased its footprint on the continent with additional human resources in Addis Ababa to work specifically towards the universalization and strengthened implementation of the Convention and explore opportunities for synergies with regional frameworks on peace and security, health security and development. This new geographic proximity to regional and national authorities in Africa, relevant embassies in Addis Ababa and regional policy-making platforms contributes to advancing the implementation and universalization of the Convention on the continent.

Through its strengthened presence in Addis Ababa and with the support of the European Union, UNODA is able to offer tailored support to BWC state parties such as legislative assistance to States parties wishing to improve their Convention related legislation as well as trainings and support on the elaboration and submission of Confidence-Building Measures (CBM) reports.

African Non-State Parties also benefit from this increased presence and coordination in Addis Ababa notably through legislative assistance to those interested in joining the Convention and intending to review and adjust their existing legislation. UNODA is also able to liaise closely with regional stakeholders as well as with Permanent Missions to the African Union in Addis Ababa, to identify specific national challenges to the accession to or ratification of the Convention and facilitate respective accession/ratification processes by providing related technical and legislative assistance.

The presence of UNODA in the Ethiopian capital will also support the roll out of BWC National Contact Points (NCP) capacity building, facilitate the review of developments in Science & Technology relevant to the BWC and broaden he support for voluntary transparency exercises.