Council of Europe to call for strengthening Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention

The Council of Europe will call for a strengthening of the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention during a review conference to be held in December in Geneva.

The council will stress the need for stronger prohibitions against biological weapons and more cooperation from signatories so that the document can remain relevant into the 21st century, according to

The BTWC bans the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition and retention of biological weapons. Included in the scope of the BTWC are microbial or other biological agents found in toxins that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes.

A major review conference takes place among signatory nations every five years. The European Union has identified its main priorities for this year’s conference to be the BTWC’s universalism and its support of national implementation strategies.

The Council has expressed its support and appreciation for the United Nations leadership of the convention through the Implementation Support Unit, describing it as an excellent example of modern cooperation to address a common challenge, reports.

The BTWC was opened for signature simultaneously in Moscow, Washington and London in 1972. It entered into force in 1975. The convention was the result of prolonged efforts by the international community to supplement portions of the 1925 Geneva Protocol. There are currently 163 signatories to the BTWC, with 144 having fully ratified the treaty.