The Ninth Review Conference of the States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention was held in Geneva from 28 November to 16 December 2022. The event was held against the backdrop of a scandal involving US military-biological activities in Ukraine, an upsurge in the incidence of H1N1 swine flu and the spread of African swine fever.
The conference dealt with the current status of the BWC, compliance with its provisions, increasing the ‘transparency’ of national biological programmes.
It is to be reminded that the Russian Federation has proposed a number of initiatives to strengthen the biological weapons non-proliferation regime and to improve confidence-building measures within the framework of the Convention.
First and foremost, to renegotiate a legally binding protocol to the BWC with an effective verification mechanism that would include lists of pathogens, toxins, specialised equipment and be comprehensive.
The second is the expansion of the format of confidence-building measures by providing information on biological defence research and development carried out outside national territory.
The third is the establishment of the Scientific Advisory Committee to evaluate advances in science and technology, which would have broad geographical representation and equal rights of participants.
The fourth is the use of mobile bio-medical teams within the BWC.
However, these proposals were blocked by the collective West. Only proposals to start negotiations on the formation of the Scientific Advisory Committee did not raise any objections.
The United States has explicitly stated that it will not allow language on the importance of a legally binding protocol and verification procedures in the outcome document, although more than 120 countries have supported the initiative.
The Western delegations pushed for decisions only on issues of interest to them, without taking into account the priorities of other states.