Ban Ki-moon calls for cooperation on the diplomatic use of biological science

Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, urged states parties to the international convention on biological weapons on Monday to increase cooperation on the diplomatic use of biological science and technology.
This cooperation could ensure that the knowledge of biological technology is used for the benefit of humanity and not exploited to undercut worldwide security.
Ban made the statement in a video message presented at the seventh review conference of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction. The conference opened Monday in Geneva. Ban said the treaty is key to the weapons non-proliferation and global disarmament framework.
“Over the past five years, states parties have developed common understandings aimed at better implementation of this critical instrument,” Ban said. “The parties have also built a vibrant network of concerned groups and individuals. It helps to ensure that biological science and technology can be developed safely and securely – so that they bring benefits, not danger.”
Jarmo Sareva, the director of the Geneva Branch of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, explained that the treaty is the legal embodiment of the international community’s determination to eliminate the potential of disease being used as a weapon. He said that the treaty has formed one of the essential pillars of the battle against weapons of mass destruction.
In 1972, the Biological Weapons Convention opened for signature and it entered into force in 1975. The convention prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling, and use of biological and toxic weapons. It is a central element, along with the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, in the attempts by the international community to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The treaty was also the first multilateral disarmament treaty that banned an entire category of weapons. There are 165 states that have become parties to the convention, while another 12 have signed but have not yet ratified the treaty.