From 18 to 19 January 2024, the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) within the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Ministry of Health of Viet Nam, jointly organized a national workshop on the implementation of the Convention. The purpose of the workshop was to deepen understanding of the BWC, to share effective practices relating to the preparation of Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs), and to inform participants about capacity-building opportunities available to strengthen biosafety and biosecurity.
The two-day gathering in Hanoi brought together approximately 20 participants from different Vietnamese ministries and institutions, two regional experts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Philippines and staff from the ISU and UNODA. Opening remarks were delivered by the ISU, the Ministry of Health of Viet Nam, and the Delegation of the European Union to Viet Nam, as the EU provided funding for the workshop.
Throughout the workshop, participants discussed different national implementation aspects in regard to the Convention and identified opportunities for technical assistance and capacity-building support. Information on the preparation of CBMs was also exchanged in great detail and lessons learned were shared by regional experts. Various learning methods were applied during the workshop, including brief thematic presentations, a CBM tabletop exercise, an active learning session on specific CBM aspects carried out in smaller breakout groups and a quiz on the BWC.
“The objective of CBMs is to prevent or reduce the occurrence of ambiguities, doubts, and suspicions and to improve international cooperation in the field of peaceful biological activities” said Alex Lampalzer, Deputy Chief of the ISU. He also expressed his hope that, “this workshop will facilitate the preparation of Viet Nam’s first-ever CBM report in 2024.” Workshop participants underlined the importance of maintaining the strong norm against biological weapons, as well as the need for further awareness of, and international cooperation and assistance towards, the Convention’s full implementation.
Additional information on the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is available here.