Biological Weapons Convention – Meetings of Experts

Sponsorship Programme

The Sponsorship Programme for participation in the 2020 Meeting of Experts is now open

In order to support and increase the participation of developing States Parties in annual BWC meetings, the Eighth Review Conference (in 2016) decided to renew the Sponsorship Programme established by the Seventh Review Conference (in 2011).

The Sponsorship Programme is administered by the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Meeting of States Parties, and is funded by voluntary contributions from States Parties in a position to provide them.

The Seventh Review Conference decided that “Priority for sponsorship will be given to those States Parties which have previously not participated in the meetings, or have been unable to regularly send experts from capital.” Sponsorship may also be provided, depending on the availability of resources, to enhance participation of States not party in order to promote universalization of the Convention. With regard to the intersessional programme from 2018-2020, the 2017 Meeting of States Parties added that "Maximum use would be made of the Sponsorship Programme funded by voluntary contributions in order to facilitate participation of developing States Parties in the meetings of the intersessional programme."

Dates of the 2020 BWC Meetings of Experts

The Meetings of Experts (MX) are scheduled to take place from 25 August to 3 September 2020.

MX1 - Cooperation and Assistance, with a Particular Focus on Strengthening Cooperation and Assistance under Article X (25-26 August 2020)

MX2 - Review of Developments in the Field of Science and Technology Related to the Convention (27-28 August 2020)

MX3 - Strengthening National Implementation (31 August 2020)

MX4 - Assistance, Response and Preparedness (1-2 September 2020)

MX5 - Institutional Strengthening of the Convention (3 September 2020)

So far in 2020, Canada and the European Union have provided voluntary contributions to the Sponsorship Programme.

How to apply to the BWC Sponsorship Programme

Developing States wishing to apply for sponsorship for the BWC Meetings of Experts should select a suitably qualified individual. Following selection by his/her authorities, the expert should:

  • Complete the online application form (link soon available), confirming that he/she is an official from a government agency or ministry with responsibility for issues relating to the BWC  and is able to make an intervention on his/her government’s status of ratification/accession, implementation or reporting on the Convention.
  • Specify in the application form his/her area of expertise, interest and how he/she is planning to contribute to the meetings (for example, by making an intervention during the MX).
  • In addition to the online application form, please send to the BWC ISU at bwc@un.org the following two documents:
  • A letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Permanent Mission of the applying State, endorsing the application of the expert. Only one candidate should be selected by the State in the letter.
  • A scanned copy of the data page of the applicant's passport.
  • For the upcoming Meetings of Experts, the deadline for submitting requests for sponsorship is 20 April 2020. After this date, the online application will be closed.

All requests for sponsorship will be reviewed by the Office-holders of the 2020 BWC meetings in accordance with the criteria identified by the Seventh Review Conference and Eighth Review Conference and taking into account the availability of resources, after which the applicants will be informed of the outcome.

As funding is limited, it is likely that not all applications will be able to be supported.

In order to promote Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality, the Implementation Support Unit strongly encourages applications from suitably qualified female applicants.

Once an application for sponsorship has been approved the following conditions will apply:

Flights

The ISU will arrange travel through the UN travel agency. Please, note that the agency will strictly follow UN policy and book the most cost-effective economy class round trip. Sponsored participants will receive an electronic ticket (e-ticket) for their travel.

Sponsored participants must retain their original boarding passes and submit them to the ISU during their stay in Geneva.

The ISU’s agreement is required for any changes to the arrival and departure dates of sponsored participants. The ISU will not cover expenses unrelated to participation in the Meeting or that result from changes in travel arrangements it has not authorized. Sponsored participants shall bear all costs resulting from changes they make, including cancellations, once the tickets have been purchased.

Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA)

Sponsored participants will receive their DSA via electronic transfer to their bank account. It will cover accommodation and meals for the duration of the participants' stay in Geneva. Sponsored participants should be aware that refunds for additional expenses are not possible.

Insurance

It is strongly recommended that sponsored participants take out international medical, accident and travel insurance. The United Nations does not cover life or medical insurance for participants. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all participants to ensure that they obtain adequate insurance prior to their travel to Geneva.

Visa

It is the responsibility of sponsored participants to act promptly to obtain all necessary visas for travel to Switzerland (including transit visas), especially since Switzerland has applied the Schengen regulations concerning the issuance of visas.

Further information relating to the procedures and measures concerning the issuance of visas for Switzerland is available by contacting the Swiss embassy or consulate in the applicant's country of residence or by referring to the following link of the Federal Office for Migration:

http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm/en/home/themen/einreise/merkblatt_einreise.html

Further information is available on the Permanent Mission of Switzerland's website:

http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/topics/intorg/un/unge/gepri/manvis/manvi2.html

Registration for the 2020 Meetings of Experts

All participants in the Meeting need to be properly registered in the online INDICO system. This is important for preparation of the Security Identification Badges that are required for entry into the Palais des Nations. The link to the registration page will be provided a due time.

Please note that all Permanent Missions have to provide prior to the Meeting of Experts a note verbale, listing the composition of their delegation to the Meeting. Without the note verbale, delegates’ names will not be reflected in the official List of Participants.

*Until further notice, the BWC Meetings of Experts will be taking place as planned. Applicants will be informed in case of any change related to the current Covid 19 disease outbreak