The Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), through the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) and the Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit (BWC-ISU), and with financial support from the European Union, is organizing with the governments of Benin and Burkina Faso two national workshops on the implementation of the BWC.
The workshops will be held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from 2 to 3 December 2013 and in Cotonou, Benin from 5 to 6 December 2013 and bring together all the national stakeholders and implementing authorities in Burkina Faso and Benin with regional and international experts on the subject. The activities are part of a wider national assistance programme in support of the universalization of the Convention, the strengthening of national capacities and the implementation of obligations of the BWC, notably greater participation in confidence building measures, legislative and administrative measures and awareness-raising, and the creation of a code of conduct on biosafety and biosecurity standards.
During the workshops, participants will discuss the various concepts of the Convention and ways to reinforce national implementation based on regional experiences. They will also identify key partners to conduct an initial needs and priorities assessment and a plan of action for the assistance programme. Experts from VERTIC (the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre), the Moroccan Association of Biosafety (MOBSA) and the BWC Implementation Support Unit will make presentations during the two days.
The Biological Weapons Convention, also known as the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), was signed in 1972 and entered into force in 1975. It prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, storage and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons. The BWC, along with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), are the three main pillars of the international community’s key efforts to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs hosts the BWC Implementation Support Unit (BWC-ISU) in Geneva, which is mandated to assist States Parties in national implementation efforts regarding the BWC and to “help States Parties help themselves”.
As part of its mandate, UNREC is engaged in supporting the implementation of the BWC on the African continent.
These workshops are part of the EU’s “BWC Action” in support of the BWC at international, regional and national levels through three major projects: universality and national implementation, strengthening confidence through compliance, and strengthening international cooperation and encouraging discussion on the future of the BWC.