From 17-21 July 2023, VERTIC’s NIM Programme and partner CRDF Global held two workshops in Naivasha, Kenya on implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). A legislative drafting workshop was held from 17-19 July, with an awareness raising event following on 20-21 July. The workshops formed part of the assistance provided under a project funded by the United States Department of State Office of the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (NDF) on Advancing BWC National Implementation in Kenya which was launched in October 2022. The two workshops were organised in collaboration with the Kenyan National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI). The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and its BWC Implementation Support Unit (ISU) were also key partners in these events, jointly hosting the awareness raising workshop and participating in the legislative drafting workshop.

Legislative drafting workshop: 17-19 July

The first workshop, organised by VERTIC and CRDF, gathered relevant experts from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Interior and Administration, Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice, NACOSTI, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenyatta University, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Ministry of Health, as well observers from UNODA and NDF.

The objective of the workshop was to support Kenya in the process of drafting legislation to strengthen the existing framework for BWC implementation in the country. In order to provide the conceptual basis for the discussions, the first day provided general presentations on the BWC and its national implementation. Participants also discussed the status of BWC implementation in Kenya and the best approaches to strengthen the existing legislative and regulatory frameworks. The second and third day focussed on reviewing and drafting legislative proposals. At the end of the workshop, next steps were discussed towards facilitating the process of inter-ministerial review and the ultimate adoption of BWC implementing legislation.

Awareness raising workshop: 20-21 July

The second workshop was organised jointly by VERTIC and CRDF Global, in collaboration with UNODA. The objective of this event was to inform and raise awareness of policymakers and stakeholders in Kenya about the importance and benefits of comprehensive and effective implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention, with a focus on BWC implementing legislation, in support of ongoing efforts to develop and adopt such legislation in Kenya.

The event gathered senior officials from the following Kenyan Institutions: Ministry of Education. Ministry of Interior and Administration, Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice, Ministry of Health, NACOSTI, National Biosafety Authority, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, National Defense University of Kenya, National Research Fund, National Museum of Kenya, Kenya Agriculture Livestock Research Organization, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, Commission for University Education, as well as relevant experts from VERTIC, CRDF Global and NDF. Opening remarks were delivered by the BWC ISU, VERTIC, NDF, NACOSTI and the Kenyan Ministry of Education. An official reception and dinner was hosted by UNODA on the first day.

Through tailored presentations, group discussions and interactive exercises, the workshop provided participants with an opportunity to gain knowledge and exchange on the policy and institutional issues underlying the development of BWC implementing legislation and their potential roles in supporting the adoption of such legislation in Kenya. During the workshop, participants were also briefed on the outcome of the legislative drafting workshop and planned next steps towards strengthening BWC legislation in Kenya.