Universality of the BWC


The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) currently has 183 states parties and 4 signatories (as at 19 March 2020). For the status of membership of the BWC, please visit the BWC Implementation Support Unit’s website. 

States that are not party to the BWC may wish to consider the advantages of joining the Convention. As states parties, they will be able to:
  • benefit from the numerous capacity-building, training and development opportunities available to States Parties to the BWC;
  • strengthen their national systems to prevent and respond to natural disease outbreaks affecting human, animal and plant health;
  • improve their emergency capabilities to respond to biological weapons use;
  • encourage investment in the biotechnology sector, by proving that they are responsibly abiding by the comprehensive prohibition on biological weapons embodied in the Convention;
  • reduce the risk of biological terrorism occurring on their territory;
  • demonstrate their commitment to biological disarmament; and
  • satisfy certain obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004).
There are a range of assistance programmes available to help states to effectively implement the BWC. The assistance providers would be pleased to discuss the specific needs of each state and develop tailored solutions.

VERTIC has developed several tools to help facilitate ratification of or accession to the BWC, such as a factsheet on the BWC, the BWC Sample Act and the model instruments of ratification/accession below.

Model instrument of ratification for the BWC

English, FrenchSpanish

Model instrument of accession for the BWC

English, FrenchPortuguese, Spanish

Contact details for BWC depositaries