“We must come together to prevent, detect, and fight every kind of biological danger – whether it is a pandemic like H1N1, a terrorist threat, or a treatable disease.”
- President Obama, United Nations General Assembly, September 22, 2011
Today, the States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) are meeting in Geneva for the start of the Seventh Review Conference (RevCon) of the Biological Weapons Convention to evaluate the implementation of the treaty and chart a course for the coming years. To underscore the importance the United States places on the BWC as a critical tool to help counter biological threats, the President has asked Secretary of State Clinton to lead the United States delegation to the RevCon, where she will deliver the opening statement for the United States on December 7th.
Part of a Broader National Strategy
The BWC is a critical venue for advancing objectives set forth in the President’s National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats, which emphasizes the need for multinational collaboration on concrete activities to help counter biological proliferation and bioterrorism. The three-week BWC Review Conference presents an opportunity for countries to promote real action to improve global response capabilities, reinforce norms against the misuse of biological science, and to help identify and thwart those who would seek to cause harm.
Revitalizing International Efforts to Reduce Biological Threats
The United States believes the BWC should be the premier forum for bringing together the security, health, law enforcement, and science communities to raise awareness of evolving biological risks and how to best manage them. The U.S. believes that revitalized international efforts and a coordinated series of actions can help reduce the threat of biological attacks.
At the RevCon, the United States will seek the endorsement of the BWC States Parties of a work program for the next five years in three broad areas of work that will greatly enhance international efforts to counter biological threats.
In order to meet these goals, the United States will propose that the BWC RevCon establish a vigorous work program for the next five years that focuses on the common needs and interests of all States Parties in combating biological threats. Pursuing this robust program will help the international community produce concrete results, thereby enabling successful annual Meetings of States Parties and a robust Eighth BWC Review Conference in 2016.