On 3 and 4 November 2022 in Vientiane, Lao PDR, the European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative (EU CBRN CoE), under EU CBRN CoE Project 62 (On-Site Technical Assistance to Southeast Asia), offered national authorities from Lao PDR hands on training on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). This workshop, led by Prof. Irma Makalinao of the Philippines, was a tremendous example of intra-regional cooperation aiming to strengthen compliance with the BWC and build transparency through the CBM mechanism.

VERTIC NIM Co-Programme Director Sonia Drobysz joined virtually on 3 November for a session focusing on Lao PDR’s implementing legislation for the BWC. Sonia participated in her capacity as key expert under EU CBRN CoE Project 81 on enhanced biosecurity in Southeast Asia. As part of Work Package 2 of the project, VERTIC’s National Implementation Measures Team is working with partner countries, including Lao PDR, towards strengthening biosecurity legislation. This involves preparing comprehensive analyses of countries’ legislation for the implementation of the BWC, measures for personnel accessing biological agents and toxins, and the International Health Regulations, with a view to identifying gaps and areas requiring strengthening. During the workshop, Sonia presented the methodology and findings of Lao PDR’s BWC legislation survey, and explained how it could inform the preparation of CBM Form E on relevant legislation for the BWC.