BWC members issue final report from 7th Review Conference

The States Parties of the 1972 Biological Weapons and Toxins Convention have issued an advanced version of a report detailing the results of Seventh Review Conference recently held in Geneva.

The states parties agreed to add items to the standing agenda to be discussed every year, recognized the necessity of streamlining the intersessional process and reaffirmed the decision to hold an annual meeting of members preceded by a meeting of experts.

The conference decided that both the Meeting of Experts and the Meeting of States Parties will annually discuss issues related to cooperation and assistance under the BWC's Article X, review developments in science and technology that are related to the convention, and discuss the formation of national implementation strategies.

The members also decided to schedule discussions for later meetings. In 2015, the members plan to talk about how to strengthen Article VII of the treaty, including a consideration of how to develop procedures and mechanisms to provide assistance and cooperation to other nations.

The states parties agreed to enhance the functioning of a database system to help facilitate assistance requests. They also agreed to develop exchanges in material and equipment used for the peaceful development of the biological sciences.

"States parties agreed to continue to work together to target and mobilize resources, including financial resources, to address gaps and needs for assistance and cooperation, including in particular from developed to developing States Parties, and from international and regional organizations and other relevant stakeholders," the report concludes.

The attendees also reviewed a variety of technologies, including bioinformatics, computational biology, DNA microarrays, gene synthesis, high-throughput mass spectrometry, nanotechnology and synthetic biology.

At the closing session of the meeting, the states parties adopted the final report by consensus for full distribution.