Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Export Control

Biological Weapons Convention – EU assistance improves biosecurity

06/12/2018 - 16:00
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The EU-funded assistance activities are making a difference on the ground and are helping countries to develop their capacities against the threat of proliferation of biological weapons by States or non-States actors. This was one of the conclusions at an EU side event that was organised in the margins of the annual meeting of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in Geneva on 5 December 2018 to present project activities under the EU Council Decision 2016/51 in support of the Convention.

"Our aim is to promote universal adherence to this important Convention and support States Parties in their efforts to implement their obligations," said Anne Kemppainen, Head of the Political Section for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation at the EU Delegation in Geneva who moderated the panel discussion.

Anja Kaspersen, Director of the Geneva Branch of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, expressed appreciation for the EU's support that has enabled the BTWC's Implementation Support Unit (ISU) to promote universalisation and national implementation.

Joel Especa, Director of International Organizations, Ministry of External Affairs of Haiti, gave a positive assessment of the EU-funded universalization visit to Haiti and reaffirmed Haiti's commitment to join key disarmament treaties and conventions in a near future.

Dr. Irma Makalinao from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine highlighted the usefulness of the recent regional workshop that had brought together stakeholders from across Asia to assess the impact of scientific and technological developments on the Convention's implementation.

Kathryn Tham Bee Lin, Research Officer of Science and Technology from the Research Institute for Defense in Malaysia, appreciated the support received through the EU's Extended Assistance Programme to enhance Confidence Building Measures and laboratory biosecurity.

All speakers commended the BTWC ISU for the professional implementation of the project activities.

Emil Kazakov, International Relations Officer in the Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Division in the European External Action Service, assured that the EU will continue to support interested States with a new Council Decision which is under consideration in Brussels. 

Since 2006, the EU has provided 6.3 million Euros from its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) budget for BTWC related legislative assistance, biorisk management, and export control in third countries. The EU's universalisation activities have contributed to the accession of 26 States to the BTWC. With the financial support of the EU, the ISU has developed an electronic facility increasing the rate of annual submissions of Confidence-Building Measures by States Parties. More than 30 workshops have been organized in different parts of the world to promote universalization, national implementation, and submission of Confidence-Building Measures under the BTWC.

Other EU instruments include the EU CBRN Centres of Excellence Initiative which provides assistance to more than 60 countries in 8 regions to mitigate chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks, with the budget of 250 million Euros for 2010-20.