Biological Weapons Convention

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The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) opened for signature in 1972 and entered into force in 1975.

  • It was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons. 
  • It effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons and is a key element in the international community’s efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. 
  • It covers the deliberate use of biological agents to harm humans, animals and plants. 
  • It is the primary international regime to address deliberate disease and complements efforts to address international efforts to deal with disease events of a natural or accidental origin.  

The Implementation Support Unit (ISU) was created in 2006 to support states efforts under the treaty. This small unit, based out of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs in Geneva, Switzerland provides administrative support, aids annual exchanges of information, facilitates national implementation and works to expand treaty membership. Since its inception, the ISU has worked closely with its international partners, such as the IPPC to strengthen national and international efforts to prevent, detect, mitigate and recover from disease incidents, irrespective of how they started.

Contact Point: International Organizations Group

Mr. Richard Lennane
Head, BWC Implementation Support Unit
Biological Weapons Convention Biological Weapons Convention
UN Office for Disarmament Affairs United Nations Office at Geneva CH'1211 Geneva 10 Switzerland
Phone: +41 22 917 2230
Fax: +41 22 917 0483
Email: rlennane@unog.ch
Preferred languages: English
Title Files/URLs Date Published Type
Biological Weapons Convention http://www.unog.ch/80256EE600585943/(httpPages)/04FBBDD6315AC720C1257180004B1B2F?OpenDocument
17 Nov 2014 Website