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The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction is commonly known as the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). It is also referred to as the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). The BWC is the first multilateral treaty banning the use as well as production of the entire category of weapons. The treaty bans the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons.
The BWC came into force as a result of extended efforts by the international community to establish a new instrument to supplement the Geneva Protocol of 1925. The BWC was opened for signature in 1972 and came into force in 1975. Currently, there are 163 States Parties and 16 Signatory States to this convention.
States Parties to the BWC undertake that they will not develop, produce, stockpile, acquire or retain microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes. They also undertake that they will not use, produce or stock weapons, equipment, or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.