The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC or BTWC).
BWC entered into force after the ratification of 22 states on 26 March 1975. Czechoslovakia became a party to this Convention on 30 April 1973 and subsequently the Czech Republic on 24 March 1993. As of today there are 170 state parties and 10 signatories.
This Convention is a key instrument in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons. Every year meetings of state parties and meetings of experts take place in Geneva in order to assess the implementation and universalization of the Convention. Once in 5 years a Review Conference is convened. The last (Seventh) Review Conference was held from 5 to 22 December 2011 and approved a plan for the next intersessional period 2012-2015 covering areas including:
- International cooperation and assistance (under Article X)
- Advancement of research and development in the field of BWC
- Strengthening national implementation of BWC
In addition to these areas of focus, a specific objective of confidence-building measures was set out for the period of 2012-2013. To promote the full implementation of Article X, the Review Conference decided to establish a database to facilitate the exchange of requests for and offers of assistance and cooperation among States Parties. Further, the Conference amended the scheme for annual reporting on confidence building measures.
Neither in Czechoslovakia nor in the Czech Republic were bacteriological biological or toxin weapons developed or produced.
The Czech Republic is involved in efforts to control, limit and prohibit use of such weapons in order to achieve global security. We strive to bolster the implementation of the BWC and to create a robust verification mechanism. In this regard we have joined forces with Canada and Switzerland and created a program focusing on assessment of national implementation of the Convention (Compliance Assessment). This cooperation included a submission of a document (BWC/MSP/2012/WP.6) comparing national implementation in several countries. In 2011 the Czech Republic carried out the duties of one of the Vice-Presidents of the Review Conference. Additionally, we have a standing offer of cooperation in Article X database.