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Considering potential lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic to strengthen the BTWC (Part 2 – virtual)

7 June 2021

In view of the next Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), this high-level part of the Ad hoc seminar aimed to consider and determine the key issues highlighted by the pandemic that could be relevant to the disarmament and non-proliferation scope of Convention. The purpose was to explore the lessons that can be learned from this international public health crisis and the response, and to discuss how they could have an impact on the BTWC and help strengthen its implementation.

This high-level event followed an expert workshop which took place on 17 May 2021. The expert workshop was designed so that its outputs could contribute to foster discussions at European level during this high-level session.

During the expert workshop, the seminar first sought to identify and discuss the potential repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic with regard to the implementation of the BTWC, with a focus on national implementation, biosecurity challenges, and the need to keep up with scientific and technical advances. Then, it provided an opportunity to reconsider the reflections pertaining to the implementation of Article VII on emergency assistance in case of a violation of the Convention, and of Article X on cooperation and assistance.

Through the seminar, participants highlighted anew the key challenges facing the BTWC, but also strongly stressed the need to build on the unique momentum created by the pandemic crisis to strengthen the BTWC at the next Review Conference (RevCon). As far as the intersection between the fields of security and health is concerned, they emphasised the need to avoid duplication and be careful to respect the mandates and scopes of existing instruments, organisations, and mechanisms.

14:00 – 14:05 Introduction and Welcoming Remarks

  • Elisande Nexon, Pharm.D, Senior Research Fellow, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, France

14:05 – 14:15 Introductory remarks (recorded)

  • H.E. Ambassador Marjolijn van Deelen, EU Special Envoy for Non-proliferation and Disarmament

14:15 – 14:30 Keynote speech

H.E. Dr. Cleopa K. Mailu, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations in Geneva and Chairperson of the BWC Meeting of States Parties

14:30 – 15:30 Session 1: Exploring the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic with regard to the implementation of the BTWC

Moderator: Dr. Sonia Drobysz, Programme Director for National Implementation, VERTIC, United Kingdom

Speakers:

  • Dr. Una Jakob, Research Associate, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Germany – Reporting from the expert workshop
  • Sigurd Schelstraete, Director of the Department of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgium
  • Dr. Irmgard Adam, Policy officer, Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva

Discussion

15:30 – 16:30 Session 2: Revisiting the prospects of cooperation for peaceful purposes and emergency assistance through the potential lessons of the pandemic

Moderator: Dr. Ralf Trapp, Independent consultant

Speakers:

  • Elisande Nexon, Pharm.D, Senior Research Fellow, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, France – Reporting from the expert workshop
  • H.E. Ambassador Gianfranco Incarnato, Permanent Representative of Italy to the Conference on Disarmament
  • H.E. Ambassador Yann Hwang, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament

Discussion

16:30 Conclusion

Details

Date:
7 June 2021
Event Category: