National Implementation Measures

Once your state has become party to the Convention, it will be bound by the content of the BWC, and obliged to implement its requirements. In particular, Article IV obliges each State Party, in accordance with its constitutional processes, to take any necessary measures to prohibit and prevent the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition or retention of biological weapons in its territory and anywhere under its jurisdiction or control.

Article III requires all States Parties to refrain from transferring biological weapons to anyone and from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to manufacture or acquire them. In addition, Article X enshrines the rights for States Parties to participate in the exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the use of biological agents and toxins for peaceful purposes. This provision also ensures that the Convention is implemented in a manner which avoids hampering economic or technological development or international cooperation in this field.

In order to give effect to the BWC, your state should adopt a number of measures at the national level, some of which are listed below. VERTIC is in a position to assist states with national legislation to implement the BWC, at no cost, under our National Implementation Measures (NIM) Programme.

Penal measures

In order to give effect to the BWC, states should adopt penal measures criminalising the development, production, manufacture, stockpiling, acquisition, retention, transfer and use of biological weapons. Preparatory measures to carry out such activities, including assistance, encouragement, or inducement, should also be penalised.

Biosafety and biosecurity measures

States should adopt biosafety and biosecurity measures, such as measures to account for and secure production, use, storage and transport of particularly dangerous pathogens or activities involving humans, plants or animals where infection may pose a risk; related licensing procedures; safety and security measures for laboratories; containment measures; and genetic engineering regulations.

Transfer control measures

Import and export controls should be adopted. Import and export licenses should be required for biological agents and toxins and related equipment, technology and software that appear on the control lists. Measures should be in place ensuring general oversight over transfers. An official body should be designated to effectively enforce these measures.

Enforcement measures

Enforcement measures should be adopted to facilitate ongoing monitoring of life sciences activities and compliance with the Convention, and to prosecute and punish offenders. Finally, other measures may be necessary to facilitate domestic and international cooperation and assistance.