The 2013 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Meeting of Experts is in its penultimate day at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The biennial meetings, which began in 2007 following the Sixth Review Congress, bring together stakeholders from State Parties, NGOs, research institutions, and the sciences for collaboration both on the treaty itself and issues of importance to it. Agenda items for this year’s meeting include bolstering cooperation and assistance, particularly under Article X of the BWC, increasing the dismally low participation in the annual Confidence-building Measures (CBM), increasing national implementation of the treaty, and examining germane developments in scientific research.
A full list of all official documents, including papers submitted by State Parties, is available here (our favorite is the UK & Northern Ireland’s aptly titled paper, “We Need to Talk About Compliance“). The meetings, which began on Monday, will conclude tomorrow.
(Image courtesy of the US Mission Geneva/Flickr)
For those of you unfamiliar with the name, the Australia Group is an informal consortium of countries seeking to restrict unintentional transfer of dual-use chemical/biological materials, through participation in voluntary export controls. The group arose in 1984, following Iraq’s ability to purchase chemical weapons components through legitimate international channels. The Australia Group fills a critical niche internationally, helping to prevent the unintentional proliferation of WMD components. The group has since expanded from its 15 founding members to include 42 countries and the European Union, with Mexico joining yesterday as its 42 member.
From the press release:
In warmly welcoming Mexico to the Group, the other Australia Group members recognised the Government of Mexico’s steadfast efforts to bring Mexico’s export control system fully into line with AG common control lists and guidelines, and its determination to contribute even more effectively to the global effort to prevent the proliferation of CBW in the security interests of all members of the international community. Mexico has also underlined its continuing commitment to WMD non-proliferation and to strengthening international standards for best practice export controls.
In joining the Group, the Government of Mexico said it would contribute constructively to the achievement of the Group’s objectives and to support its principles, in the interest of disarmament, global security and non-proliferation. As an AG Participant, Mexico would also promote the fulfilment of international obligations created under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and UN Security Council Resolution 1540, among others.
Read the full release here.
(image via Kate Sheets/Flickr)