GENEVA, Dec.20 — The 9th Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) closed in Geneva on December 16. Under the active promotion of Chinese delegation, which was led by the Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs Li Song, the conference reached a final document which has decided to further strengthen the effectiveness of the BWC and promote complete compliance. To this end, a working group shall be established to carry out substantive work in compliance and verification, international cooperation, scientific and technological review, national compliance and other aspects, and committed to exploring measures to strengthen the BWC, including legally binding methods.
It is widely agreed among all participants that under the current international situation, the above achievements made during the event were important breakthroughs with multilateral efforts in the field of international arms control and disarmament in recent years, and were of great and far-reaching significance to strengthening global biosafety governance.
After the conference, Ambassador Li Song received an exclusive interview with the media and comprehensively introduced China’s important contributions to the positive results achieved at the conference. According to Li Song, the Chinese delegation has vigorously promoted the empowerment of the BWC with new vitality in maintaining world peace and promoting common development during the conference.
The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) was concluded in 1972 and entered into force in 1975. So far, it has 184 States Parties, and China acceded to the BWC on November 15, 1984. The international community widely believes that the BWC serves as the cornerstone of global biosafety governance, and the establishment of a verification mechanism is a necessary means to ensure the authority and effectiveness of the convention. However, due to the unilateral objection of the US in 2001, the negotiation of the verification protocol of the Convention has been stalled until now.
Li Song pointed out that negotiation of the verification protocol of the Convention is conducive to comprehensively strengthening the mechanism and enhancing the effectiveness of the Convention. However, due to the unilateral obstruction of the US, the relevant negotiations have kept stalling over the past 20 years. At the beginning of the conference, the Chinese side took a clear-cut stand that all the States Parties should seize the opportunity to reaffirm the common goal of strengthening the mechanism of the Convention in the new situation and formulate a detailed plan for strengthening the Convention in the future. The outcomes achieved during the conference fully realized China’s propositions above-mentioned, reactivated the multilateral process of comprehensively strengthening the Convention mechanism, and embodied the common position that the majority of developing countries, including China, have long adhered to.
Li said that during the conference, China conducted extensive communications and active mediation with all parties, making important contributions to the final document reached by all parties at the last moment. China’s constructive and leading role has been widely acclaimed by the conference bureau, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and the delegations of participating countries.
Li Song said that another outstanding contribution made by the Chinese delegation during the conference was the vigorous promotion to have the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists (Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines）recognized and supported. As an important international public product at the right time, the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines have been widely welcomed and highly concerned by all participants, making itself the most widely recognized and supported initiative during the conference.
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