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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)


Date: 06/10/2013 Description: Ambassador Laura Kennedy, U.S. Special Representative for Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Issues. - State Dept Image

The BWC is critical to international efforts to address the threat posed by biological weapons – whether in the hands of governments or non-state actors. To remain effective it must of biological threats we face in the 21st century. Review Conferences (RevCons) meet to review the operation of the Convention every five years.

BWC Review Conferences

The BWC RevCon is mandated by Article XII of the treaty, plays a critical role in reviewing the treaty and charting next steps. The purpose of the RevCons is to review the operation of the BWC, relevant scientific and technological developments, as well as progress towards the negotiation of a convention to prohibit the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Annual inter-sessional meetings of States Parties and Meetings of Experts are held between RevCons to air a variable set of diplomatic and technical topics before dealing with them more formally at the RevCons.

The first RevCon took place in Geneva in March of 1980. The second took place in 1986. Most recently, 165 States Parties gathered at the United Nations Office in Geneva December 5-22, 2011 for the seventh RevCon and set the course of work for the next five years. The final report of the Seventh Review Conference of the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention is deposited at the official BWC website. The Eighth Review Conference is slated to occur in December 2016.


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