On 27 June 2016, jointly with the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI), the GCSP organized an Introductory Workshop to the Eighth Review Conference of the BWC, due to take place in Geneva from 7 to 25 November 2016. Over 50 representatives of Permanent Missions and a few members from civil society participated in this event.
In one panel, Filippa Lentzos, from King’s College, addressed the historical roots of biowarfare, and Catriona McLeish, from Harvard Sussex Programme, talked about the international efforts to ban the use and development of bioweapons.
In a second panel, Piers Millet, from Biosecure Ltd, discussed the challenges faced, in his view, by the BWC, notably in terms of relevance and leadership, while Jetri Regmi, from WHO, examined the lessons learnt from the 2014-15 Ebola Virus epidemics.
In a third panel, Daniel Feakes, Chief of the ISU, introduced the requirements of implementation of the BWC, while Jean Pascal Zanders, Officer for the EU Council Decision in support of the BWC, looked at the implications of Art. VII of the BWC regarding assistance to states parties subject to a violation of the Convention, and Scott Spence, from VERTIC, addressed the legal measures that states parties need to adopt for complying with their obligations.
In a final panel, after Daniel Feakes introduced the various aspects of the upcoming Review Conference of the BWC, Ambassador Michael Biontino, from Germany, as Deputy Chairman of the Review Conference, and Ambassador DB Venktash Varma, from India, discussed some of the key issues on the agenda for taking the BWC forward (science and technology review, confidence-building measures, universalisation, export controls, bioterrorism, etc.).
A new Workshop in preparation for the BWC Review Conference will be held on 19 September 2016.
Powerpoint slides from the Workshop can be found in the BWC Thinkzone.