Eastern African States to Convene Workshop in Kenya for Strengthening Regional Approaches to Biological Weapons Convention, 18-19 October

GENEVA, 17 October (Office for Disarmament Affairs) — Nearly a hundred experts from Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda gather in Mombasa, Kenya, from 18 to 19 October for a two-day regional workshop to identify concrete ways to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention in Eastern African countries.

Officials from the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, Regional Coordination Office for United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), the European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa (IGAD) will also attend the event.

The workshop is organized by the Office for Disarmament Affairs through the Implementation Support Unit for the Biological Weapons Convention, in collaboration with the Government of Kenya through the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation.

The Biological Weapons Convention, which opened for signature on 10 April 1972 and entered into force on 26 March 1975, was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.  With 184 States Parties, the Biological Weapons Convention has established a strong norm against biological weapons, while also facilitating assistance, international cooperation and capacity-building on matters such as biological science and technology, as well as preparedness and response to deliberate biological threats.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the vulnerability of modern societies to large-scale disease outbreaks and the need to proactively address biothreats and enhance national frameworks on biosafety, biosecurity and non-proliferation of biological weapons.  The universalization and effective implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention in Africa is a key aspect for comprehensively addressing biological risks and threats on the continent at the national and regional levels.

The workshop is part of a four-year project on “Supporting Universalization and Effective Implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention in Africa” and funded through generous financial support by the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.

For more information on the Biological Weapons Convention, please visit BWC-Fact-Sheet-Oct22.pdf (un-arm.org).  Further information on the Biological Weapons Convention Africa project can be found at https://www.un.org/disarmament/global-partnership-support/.

Contact:  Alex Lampalzer, Political Affairs Officer, email:  bwc@un.org.

For information media. Not an official record.