9th Biological Weapons Conference: UN to move forward ‘in times of geopolitical challenges’

9è Conférence sur les armes biologiques : L'ONU plaide pour des progrès même en "période de défis géopolitiques"

The Ninth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention is being held in Geneva from November 28 to December 16, after a one-year delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On this occasion, the United Nations pleaded for progress “even in times of geopolitical challenges”.

Despite some current geopolitical tensions, multilateralism and diplomacy are essential to advancing global issues, said Izumi Nakamitsu, the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

“The 50-year history of the Convention demonstrates that even in times of geopolitical challenges, States Parties can cooperate and achieve significant progress” He said that despite the current challenges, he continues to believe that the study conference offers a great opportunity for substantial and meaningful progress.

Growing tensions in the world are creating a geopolitical crisis that is putting multilateral disarmament to the test, the UN envoy further underlined. “Multilateral processes have been blocked or curtailed”.

While emphasizing the international community “be careful”Nakamitsu pointed out to be especially vigilant “We’ve seen the erosion of standards against other prohibited weapons in recent years.”

No country wants to acquire biological weapons

In the same vein, he was welcomed by the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs“No country today has expressed a desire to acquire biological weapons, or a need for such weapons for reasons of national security”.

The moderator also requested to make this Geneva meeting a success and go beyond the status quo of many years.

All delegates must do “Flexibility regarding long-term positions, renewed commitment and honest and good faith negotiations. Also, all parties must listen, compromise and always keep in mind the main objective of preventing hostile exploitation of biology. she pointed out.

It should be noted that six years after the last conference, attention can be focused on how to modernize the treaty.

It is therefore a question of following the rapid evolution of science, which can offer interesting possibilities in the field of health and vaccines, for example, the risks related to biological weapons.

Other key issues include recent developments in science and technology that may have a serious impact on the future implementation of the Convention.

Don’t leave anything out

Under the Italian presidency, the conference could focus on investigating Russian allegations of biological weapons development and production in Ukraine. For the UN, this review conference represents an important opportunity for states to come together to strengthen this key convention.

According to Izumi Nakamitsu, no matter should be left out in the quest to strengthen the Convention. States parties may consider various options.

Under these conditions, states should “Activate” The conference aims to support peaceful scientific collaboration, promote transparency of research and promote beneficial applications of emerging technologies.

This is a question for States studying how they can verify compliance with Convention obligations. This issue was considered over 20 years ago, and both the threats we face and the technologies we use to verify compliance have changed.

To the UN official, The next generation of biosecurity professionals will need to come up with innovative ideas about how to use the tools of modern science to develop a politically acceptable verification protocol.

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