S&T at the BWC Seventh Review Conference

2nd December 2011

Opening statements by States Parties to the Seventh Review Conference of the BWC revealed a number of references to doing something about the process of reviewing science and technology. Based on a reading of the plenary statements and, in some cases an informal translation where possible, the following countries are identified as having referred to doing something on science and technology at the Review Conference. Please note the language below remains a summary of the relevant statements, the orginal statement can be found in full on the UNOG website. In due course, we will update this table with any references made in other languages.

·         Algeria - Proposed putting in place a framework that allowed States Parties to proceed with a regular evaluation of progress within the domain of sciences and technology.

·         Argentina - Proposed a mechanism for work on three themes, one of which was S&T.

·         Australia - Proposed the establishment of an open-ended intersessional working group on science and technology as well as education and awareness-raising within the scientific community.

·         Bangladesh – Referred to the rapid advances in S&T in terms of the need to improve the qualitative and quantitative aspects of CBMs.

·         Belarus - Considered it necessary to focus on the influence of scientific and technological advances on the BWC regime, especially in terms of improving the mechanisms of Article V (consultations) and Article VI (investigations)

·         Brazil - Believed that the dynamics of the review process ought to be in line with scientific and industrial developments … Also believed that the Review conference should address the harmonisation between security concerns and access to technological advancements.

·         Bulgaria - Thought that the setting up of dedicated working groups, including one for development in science and technology would help strengthen the intersessional process… Believed that science and technology should be high on the agenda of the third intersessional process.

·         Chile - Suggested that one of the main decisions of the conference relates to methods to streamline intersessional work … Adding that States Parties need to set up working groups with clear objectives as proposed by Japan. Three groups could be established to analyse CBMs, International cooperation and developments in S&T.

·         China – Thought that the close monitoring of developments in bioscience and technology would be essential to ensuring the vitality and effectiveness of the Convention… Supported efforts to enhance the monitoring and assessment of the impacts of advancements under the framework of the Convention.

·         Costa Rica – Suggested that States Parties should reflect on the next ISP, the only way to accomplish the objectives of the Convention is through continuity and the execution of a working plan. We think that amongst the most important topics to analyse are advances in S&T.

·         Cuba on behalf of the NAM - The NAM countries believed that there might be benefit in reviewing S&T developments in a regular and systematic way, perhaps through an agenda item at the MX and MSPs.

·         Denmark – Stated that an essential focus of the Review Conference should be to ensure that the BWC is continuously up-to date with new technological developments, so that it can effectively contribute to the challenge of reducing the threat from biological weapons.

·         Egypt - Believed it pertinent for the Review Conference to consider measures that could further strengthen the effectiveness of the implementation of the Convention.

·         Estonia - Associated itself with the EU statement (below).

·         EU – Stated that it was convinced that more frequent assessments of relevant S&T, which may have implications for the BWC is of the utmost importance… Advanced the idea of a working group on S&T assessments and also S&T as an agenda item at MSPs…Also believed there should be the establishment of a communication and information platform for a number of activities including S&T.

·         France – Suggested that the progress of science and technology, like the development of the biotechnology industry, is so fast nowadays that an annual session is not sufficient to handle our issues.

·         Germany - Associated itself with the EU statement (above)

·         India – Suggested progress on the issue of more frequent reviewing of science and technology could represent a significant addition at this Conference (see Indian WP)

·         Indonesia - Associated itself with the Cuban statement on behalf of NAM (above)

·         Iran - Associated itself with the Cuban statement on behalf of NAM (above)

·         Ireland - Believed there is great merit in more frequent assessments of ongoing S&T developments. Proposed that S&T should be on the agenda of both the intersessional process and the MSP.

·         JACKSONNZ – Believed that regular and more systematic review should replace the insufficient five yearly reviews … Australia, Japan and New Zealand submitted a proposal for annual reviews of S&T developments through the creation of an S&T working group.

·         Japan - Believed that it has become necessary to review annually the developments relevant to the BWC and it was desirable to establish three open-ended working groups, including one for S&T.

·         Malaysia - Believed that an annual and systematic review on the issue of science and technology would benefit BWC States Parties.

·         Morocco - Associated itself with the NAM statement … Proposed the establishment of other working groups on specific questions, such as science and technology, that will be in charge of an annual evaluation of progress in science and techniques relating to the manipulation of bacteriological agents or toxins, or the needs to epidemiological research and of public health.

·         New Zealand - Believed that it was important that there is a robust system in place to ensure that the Convention remains relevant in the light of contemporary scientific and technological developments.

·         Nigeria - Associated itself with NAM statement

·         Norway - Believed that States Parties should be ambitious and forward-looking in its approach to deal with the growing risk of the hostile use of biological materials due to technological development… Believed there was a need to take a closer look at how States Parties can ensure that the Convention keeps place with the rapid developments in science and technology.

·         Pakistan - Associated itself with NAM statement … Referred to the importance and benefits of regularly reviewing S&T related to the Convention.

·         Peru – Associated itself with NAM statement

·         Philippines - Associated itself with the NAM statement

·         Republic of Korea - Associated itself with the JACKSNNZ statement and believed that the five-yearly review seemed insufficient.

·         Russian Federation - Believed that developments in S&T should always be a focus of the States Parties to the Convention and suggested that, as part of the intersessional process, it was necessary to examine and analyse which specific spheres of development need increased attention.

·         South Africa - Associated itself with the NAM statement.

·         Spain – Reflected on the creation of a mechanism that allowed for the exchange of scientific knowledge for peaceful purposes.

·         Switzerland - Aligned itself with the JACKSNNZ statement and believed that it is vital that the BWC does not lose touch with the rapid developments in the biological sciences… Favoured setting up and effective and flexible mechanism to ensure regular and systematic review of S&T developments.

·         Turkey - Looked forward to positive outcomes in several areas, including science and technology… Believed that awareness of innovations in the life sciences and their implications for the BWC was necessary to address the complex challenges in this area…

 ·         UK - Aligned itself with the EU statement…. Believed that there were several opportunities to set the Convention on a much stronger footing, including through a regular review process for scientific and technological developments.

·         Ukraine - Supported the EU statement. Shared the idea that the Review Conference provided an opportunity for consideration and adoption of several vital decisions, including the monitoring and analysis of the latest advances of biological sciences and technologies of common interest.

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