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BAN URGES COORDINATION OF SCIENTIFIC ADVANCES FOR BIOLOGICAL DISARMAMENT

By UN
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6 December - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the need for structured and regular means of monitoring developments in science and technology to reduce risks to international security and achieving global biological disarmament.

“While much is being done to promote assistance and cooperation for the peaceful uses of biological science and technology, more could still be done to improve coordination and communication,” Mr. Ban said a message to the meeting of the State parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

The five-day meeting, which got under way today in Geneva, will consider various proposals aimed at exploring practical approaches for strengthening the Convention and promoting its full implementation.

In his message, delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, Mr. Ban said that delegates will also face the challenge of achieving universal membership of the Convention, which prohibits the development, production and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons.

“Thirteen States have signed the Convention without ratifying it, and 19 States have yet to sign it at all. I call on those States that have not done so to sign and ratify the Convention without further delay,” the Secretary-General said.

He encouraged State parties to continue working together to develop practical proposals for next year's Seventh Review Conference and assured them of the UN's continuing support.

The meeting of States parties is part of a four-year programme mandated by the Sixth Review Conference held in 2006 aimed at strengthening the implementation of the Convention and improving its effectiveness as a practical barrier against the development or use of biological weapons.

Formally known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, the treaty opened for signature in 1972 and entered into force in 1975.

The Convention currently has 163 States parties.