National Implementation

In order to fully implement the BWC, States Parties are obliged to translate the commitments found in the Convention into effective national action. Article IV of the Convention requires each State Party to “take any necessary measures to prohibit and prevent the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition, or retention of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment and means of delivery specified in Article I of the Convention, within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction or under its control anywhere”. These necessary measures depend on the circumstances and legal systems of each State Party, and as such there can be different approaches to implementing the provisions of the Convention nationally.

The Seventh Review Conference called upon States Parties “to adopt, in accordance with their constitutional processes, legislative, administrative, judicial and other measures, including penal legislation” to enhance domestic implementation and ensure the safety and security of microbial or other biological agents or toxins. To strengthen the implementation of Article IV, States Parties agreed upon the value of:

  • Implementing voluntary management standards on biosafety and biosecurity
  • Encouraging the promotion of awareness of obligations to the Convention as well as relevant national legislation amongst those working in the biological sciences and related professionals in the private and public sectors
  • Encouraging the development of education programmes and voluntary codes of conduct to promote a culture of responsibility for those with access to biological agents and toxins relevant to the Convention
  • Strengthening methods and capacities for surveillance and detection of outbreaks of disease at the national, regional and international levels