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Hello, this is Kasmira. The Biological Weapons Convention's ninth review conference kicks off in Geneva today after being delayed a year by Covid. Six years after the last conference, there's much to discuss, including how to modernise the treaty and keep up with rapid scientific changes that can bring both exciting opportunities in the field of health and vaccines, for example – but also risks where biological weapons are concerned.

photo journaliste

Kasmira Jefford


On our radar this week

Photo article

German police and rescue services practice the reaction after a terror attack with biological and chemical weapons at a training area in the German capital. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Biological weapons conference sets sights on ending 20-year ‘verification’ deadlock. From 28 November to 16 December 2022, hundreds of delegates will gather in Geneva for a major meeting of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) under the shadow of the Ukraine war and Russia’s repeated, unproven, allegations of US-funded biological warfare labs in the country. Against this tense geopolitical backdrop, a renewed sense of urgency has surfaced to solve a decades-long deadlock over how to check countries are not breaking the rules.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Plastics negotiations open in Uruguay. The first round of official talks to draft a plastics treaty kicked off today in Punta del Este, Uruguay, following a landmark decision from March. Lasting until Sunday, the meeting will address technical yet crucial issues, including electing a bureau and setting the rules of procedure, deciding who can participate and what type of agreement will be developed in the next two years of negotiations.

The outcome could very well determine how efficient the agreement is, according to a briefing by the Center of International Environmental Law (CIEL). The NGO already warns of the risk of repeating the mistakes of the Paris climate deal if proposals to make it on a voluntary-basis and require consensus arise and succeed.


Here’s what else is happening

Also on the agenda

📌 28 November | International Humanitarian Law in a divided world. Recently elected president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mirjana Spoljaric will be at Maison de la Paix this evening for her first public address to discuss the challenges humanitarians face amid growing conflicts.

Graduate Institute (EN)

📌28-30 November | UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. Held every year since 2011 at Palais de Nations, this conference intends to shed light on rights abuses committed by the private sector but also progress made through certain initiatives. Corporations, NGOs, UN experts and government officials will share the stage over the next three days to debate key challenges, including ensuring accountability, gender issues, and criminalisation of indigenous defenders.

Working Group on Business and Human Rights (EN)

📌 30 November | Right Livelihood Award. The so-called alternative Nobel Peace Prize will be presented in Stockholm to this year’s laureates from Somalia, Uganda, Ukraine and Venezuela. Geneva Solutions first reported on the announcement by the Geneva-based foundation back in September. The ceremony will feature music artists from Sweden and will be livestreamed.

Right Livelihood Award (EN)

For more events, visit the Genève Internationale website.

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