March 30, 2020

March 26 marked the 45th anniversary of the entry into force of the Biological Weapons Convention. The anniversary comes as the world is grappling with the Coronavirus pandemic.


  • Names: The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction is usually referred to as the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) or Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC).

  • What is it? The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is a legally binding treaty that outlaws biological arms.

  • Significance: The BWC is the first multilateral disarmament treaty to ban an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.

  • Timeline: the BWC opened for signature in 1972, and entered into force in 1975.

  • Members: It currently has 183 states-parties, including Palestine, and four signatories. Ten states have neither signed nor ratified the BWC.