Search The Archives

Monday, August 18, 2014


The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (usually referred to as the Biological Weapons Convention, abbreviation: BWC, or Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, abbreviation: BTWC) was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons.
The Convention was the result of prolonged efforts by the international community to establish a new instrument that would supplement the 1925 Geneva Protocol. The Geneva Protocol prohibited use but not possession or development of chemical and biological weapons.

A draft of the BWC, submitted by the British was opened for signature on 10 April 1972 and entered into force 26 March 1975 when twenty-two governments had deposited their instruments of ratification. It currently commits the 170 states which are party to it to prohibit the development, production, and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons. However, the absence of any formal verification regime to monitor compliance has limited the effectiveness of the Convention. As of April 2013, an additional 10 states have signed the BWC but have yet to ratify the treaty.
The scope of the BWC's prohibition is defined in Article 1 (the so-calledgeneral purpose criterion). This includes all microbial and other biological agents or toxins and their means of delivery (with exceptions for medical and defensive purposes in small quantities). Subsequent Review Conferences have reaffirmed that the general purpose criterion encompasses all future scientific and technological developments relevant to the Convention. It is not the objects themselves (biological agents or toxins), but rather certain purposes for which they may be employed which are prohibited; similar to Art.II, 1 in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Permitted purposes under the BWC are defined as prophylactic, protective and other peaceful purposes. The objects may not be retained in quantities that have no justification or which are inconsistent with the permitted purposes.
As stated in Article 1 of the BWC:
"Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:
  • (1) Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes;
  • (2) Weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict."


  • Article I: Never under any circumstances to acquire or retain biological weapons.
  • Article II: To destroy or divert to peaceful purposes biological weapons and associated resources prior to joining.
  • Article III: Not to transfer, or in any way assist, encourage or induce anyone else to acquire or retain biological weapons.
  • Article IV: To take any national measures necessary to implement the provisions of the BWC domestically.
  • Article V: To consult bilaterally and multilaterally to solve any problems with the implementation of the BWC.
  • Article VI: To request the UN Security Council to investigate alleged breaches of the BWC and to comply with its subsequent decisions.
  • Article VII: To assist States which have been exposed to a danger as a result of a violation of the BWC.
  • Article VIII: To do all of the above in a way that encourages the peaceful uses of biological science and technology.


1 AndorraProcess started
2 AngolaProcess started
3 ChadWaiting for further information, assistance, or have other priorities
4 ComorosProcess well advanced
5 DjiboutiProcess started
6 EritreaWaiting for further information, assistance, or have other priorities
7 GuineaProcess started
8 IsraelNo action expected in near future
9 KiribatiNo information
10 MauritaniaWaiting for further information, assistance, or have other priorities
11 MicronesiaNo information
12 NamibiaProcess started
13 NiueNo information
14 SamoaWaiting for further information, assistance, or have other priorities
15 South SudanWaiting for further information, assistance, or have other priorities
16 TuvaluWaiting for further information, assistance, or have other priorities

ISRAEL'S STANCE (Excerpt From "BioWeapons Prevention Project")

  1. "In contrast with most of the world, Israel lives in a highly unstable and complicated political arena: both the innermost circle and the second and third circles of Israel's strategic environment include several states that are not at peace with Israel, and even threaten its existence. Some of these states have signed and ratified the BTWC. Yet in the current situation, where the convention has no effective and verification mechanisms, it cannot guarantee that these states do not possess BW (biological weapons). In fact, intelligence data suggests that some of these states have WMD programs and weapons. Moreover in recent years, and specifically since 9/11, it has become obvious that BW can be developed, procured, and used by terror organizations, mainly by radical Islamic groups like Al-Qaeda and similar organizations. These global terror elements together with local groups have declared many times that Israel should be destroyed and toward this end it is legitimate to use any means, including BW and other WMD. Thus, verification mechanisms are useless regarding BW in the hands of such terror groups.

    Israel agrees with and supports the basic objectives of the BTWC, and it is a party to the 1925 Geneva protocol for prohibition of the use of asphyxiating, poisonous, or other gases and bacteriological methods of warfare (since 1969) and accepts the international norm regarding the prohibition of BW use. However, given the array of global and regional threats, and given the inability of the BTWC to ensure that BW will not be used by hostile states or organizations, Israel cannot assume that the BTWC will prevent BW use against Israel. Therefore, Israel supports the inclusion of the issue in a gradual regional process that would begin in confidence building measures, good neighbourliness, and regional security frameworks, and only after those have been established should the more complex topic of a WMD-free zone (WMDFZ) be raised. 

    Officials from Israel have repeatedly reported that Israel’s failure to join the BWC to date is due to difficult regional security circumstances and that no accession activity is likely to take place in the near future. Consequently, reports from the Chairmen of the 2007 and 2008 BWC meetings have consistently listed Israel under the category of “No action expected in near future”.

    Israel has demonstrated a long term interest in BWC developments, having attended 16 official BWC meetings, as well as the EU Joint Action preparatory meetings in Brussels, Geneva and New York as well as participating in the EU Joint Action regional seminar for the Middle East that took place in Rome, Italy in April 2008. A local representative of the Israel Mission in Geneva is also a regular participant in less formal BWC-related events, including NGO BWC lunchtime seminars and meetings outside of the BWC timetable.

    Prospects for joining the BWC

    Accession is not likely in the near future and is dependent upon significant political changes within the Middle East region making the political climate more conducive to accession.

Pressure should be regularly applied to Israel by States parties to the Convention and strategies involving the promotion and implementation of regional confidence-building measures in support of the goals of the BTWC may be the only realistic way to promote the convention in the region. "


Due to the nature of Israel's geographic location, and in light of recent and historical military interventions by Israel in the Middle East arena, it is important to note that Israel as an independent state has a long history of both aggression and defensive postures.  Israel has EVERY RIGHT to defend herself from any attacks.  That said, there remains a concern that by not signing the Biological Weapons Convention, there is the appearance that Israel may act outside the scope of the BWP, with the possibility that it may implement use of BW's without violation of any International Laws as a non-signatory.  Certainly, it would need to deal with Geneva Convention violations, but as a non-signatory to the BWC, Israel can independently operate as a proxy for any country it remains an ally with at any given time.  At the moment, that would be the United States and all allied nations of the United States.

There is also a LARGE CONCERN regarding the multiple countries in Africa that have not signed on.  It is also not without coincidence that there are large outbreaks of Ebola in non-signatory countries in Africa, with minimal to no security forces in place to guard quarantine centers as we have seen on 8/17/14.  (See video below)

1 comment :

  1. It has fully emerged to crown Singapore's southern shores and undoubtedly placed her on the global map of residential landmarks. I still scored the more points than I ever have in a season for GS. I think you would be hard pressed to find somebody with the same consistency I have had over the years so I am happy with that. FUll PC Softwares