Dr. Marie Chevrier, Chair of the Scientists Working Group on Biological and Chemical Weapons, was one of six participants in an NGO Roundtable Discussion with the Chair of the annual in Geneva on December 11.
Most of the States Parties participating in the Meeting attended the Roundtable, which marked the first time in the history of the Convention that NGOs have been invited to interact directly with delegates on the floor of a BWC meeting. Dr. Chevrier noted that, “by inviting NGOs to interact in the official meeting room with the delegates, the U.N. lent legitimacy to the role of civil society and NGOs that has not always been recognized by the delegates” in the past. The incoming Chair for next year’s Meetings of Experts (August 18–22, 2008) and States Parties (December 1-5, 2008) has already indicated his interest in organizing similar events, with an emphasis on increased participation by NGOs from developing nations.
The focus of this year’s BWC meetings was on national implementation of the Convention. In her prepared remarks, Dr. Chevrier stressed the importance of States Parties’ comprehensively implementing all of their obligations under the BWC. In addition, she highlighted the roles the non-governmental organizations can play in promoting and enhancing national implementation. In addition to delivering prepared remarks, Dr. Chevrier responded to specific questions from States Parties.