The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention’s Meeting of State Parties– a week of important discussions ahead
The 179 State Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BTWC) gather in Geneva from 4 to 8 December to hold their annual meeting. The State Parties, observer states, international organisations and representatives from civil society will discuss the future of the convention, and the possibility for an intersessional program.
Biological weapons are used to spread disease-causing organisms or toxins that harm or kill humans, animals or plants. The BTWC was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the development, production and stockpiling of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. It was opened for signature in 1972. Sweden ratified the Convention in 1976.
Last year, the eight Review Conference of the convention was held. During this conference states did not succeed in deciding on an intersessional program, which is a program on what to do between the Review Conferences, as consensus decision was not reached.
To be able to move forward this week, several working papers have therefore been submitted in order to broaden the discussion and make suggestion for future work.
Sweden emphasizes that focus for the conference must be on reaching agreement on an intersessional program, but also highlights the importance of adopting a gender perspective in the work of the convention.
Read Sweden’s full statement here and more about the convention here.