Southeast Asian States convene for workshop on promoting CBMs in the framework of the Biological Weapons Convention

October 16th, 2023

From 10 to 11 October 2023, the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) within the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), in partnership with the European Union CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative (EU CBRN CoE) Regional Secretariat for Southeast Asia and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), held a regional workshop for Southeast Asian States Parties on the promotion of Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) in regards to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The workshop aimed to deepen the understanding of the BWC, to share good practices on the preparation of the CBMs amongst Southeast Asian States Parties, and to inform about capacity-building opportunities available to strengthen biosafety and biosecurity.

Twenty-nine participants from ten States Parties (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam) attended the workshop. During the workshop, experts engaged in discussions pertaining to national implementation of the BWC and its important role as a cornerstone in the multilateral arms control and disarmament architecture. Opening remarks were delivered by the Delegation of the European Union to Thailand and the UK Embassy in Bangkok, as the EU and the UK provided funding for the activity.

Participants in the Regional Workshop on Promoting BWC CBMs in Southeast Asia

“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 further enhance trust and openness among states in Southeast Asia.” 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.

The workshop provided a useful platform for sharing effective practices in the preparation and promotion of CBMs among states in the region. While also acknowledging a number of challenges with respect to the preparation of CBMs, participants underlined their value for building trust and transparency amongst States Parties. At the heart of the activity was an interactive tabletop exercise that helped to deepen participants’ understanding about the preparation of the annual CBM reports.

Participants engaging during a Tabletop Exercise on CBMs

Additional information on the Biological Weapons Convention is available here.