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Italy hosted in Montreux a retreat in preparation for the IX Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

On 10 and 11 November, the Permanent Mission of Italy to the Conference on Disarmament hosted a retreat in Montreux (Switzerland) in preparation for the Ninth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention, chaired this year by Ambassador Leonardo Bencini.

Organized in collaboration with Wilton Park (executive agency of the British FCDO), the retreat saw the active participation of around one hundred Representatives from over seventy countries, who gathered to discuss the key challenges for the success of the Conference, which will take place in Geneva from 28 November to 16 December 2022.

“We have the responsibility to succeed”, said Ambassador Bencini. “Learning from the pandemic period, it is more crucial than ever to collaborate on a key issue for international peace and security”.

During the two intense days of informal discussions, the participants discussed the main topics of the Convention, including the important role of international cooperation and assistance, as well as the scientific and technological challenges and opportunities.

By reviewing the developments of the inter-sessional period since the latest Review Conference (2016), the event allowed to deepen possible points of convergence, addressing among others the issue of verifications and compliace, trying to strengthen the role of the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) and laying the foundations for the future inter-sessional period.

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) prohibits the development, production and possession of the bacteriological and toxin weapons and requires the destruction of existing stocks. Entered into force in March 1975, it is the first multilateral treaty banning the production and use of an entire category of weapons. To date, the Convention has been ratified by 184 States and signed by an additional 4.