November 8, 2016
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Triyono Wibowo Ambassador/Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva/ Head of Delegation of the Republic of Indonesia at the 8th Review Conference of the The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction/ Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)
At the outset, I wish to convey our warmest congratulations on your assumption as the President of the 8th Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and also to the distinguished members of the Bureau of this auspicious meeting.
We believe that under your guidance and able leadership, our meeting will generate productive discussions for further bolstering the implementation of the Convention.
My delegation wishes to associate itself with the statements delivered by Venezuela, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and Other State Parties to the Convention, and Laos on behalf of the ASEAN Member States.
Indonesia wishes to reaffirm its steadfast commitments to BWC as one of the most important pillars of international peace and security. We believe that State Parties to the Convention should work together to achieve a comprehensive implementation of the Convention. Ensuring the prevention of misuses of microbial agents and toxin for purposes prohibited by the Convention should be the sole focus of our collective endeavors.
At our national level, Indonesia continues to work on the implementation of the BWC, including disseminating information on the significance of the Convention and its implementation to all our national stakeholders. It is our firm belief that the full implementation of the Convention can only be attained when all relevant stakeholders, including the research community and civil society, understand the noble purpose of the Convention.
Indonesia believes that such noble purposes are the reasons why State Parties to the BWC, all 177 of them, accept and adhere to this Convention, regardless differences of their levels of development as well as in technological capacity. Such near-universal acceptance should always be the anchor of our activities.
Indonesia is keen to strengthen this Convention that preserves the internal cohesion within BWC, and for that purpose we need to ensure that all initiatives to strengthen the BWC should be established on BWC-based agreed modalities. Any degree of preclusion toward any of BWC’s own modalities, and establishment of linkages toward external instruments, where such instruments are created by process outside the BWC, would certainly create unnecessary polarities within the BWC membership. It is our duty-bound to prevent that from happening, as it would hamper the effectiveness of this Convention.
BWC stands uniquely among the few international instruments that operates on the sole focus on totally banning the misuse of the object of its regulation, which are microbial agents and toxin. In order for the Convention to be effectively function, it requires a standardized mechanism both to prevent any misuses of microbial agents and toxins, as well as to ensure that the uses of such materials can only be intended for peaceful purposes. In other words, we need a verification mechanism.
A solid verification mechanism is a substitute to none, and nothing may substitute it. Its absence does not only preventing the full implementation of the Convention, but also constitute a stark anomaly that alienates the Convention from its raison d’etre. It should capture our attention, and rightfully demand our appropriate response. And the time, is now.
This Review Conference should seize the historic opportunity to strengthen this inaugurated Convention with the long-awaited, organic verification mechanism. As mandated by the Convention, our Review Conference is the sole body within the BWC for states parties to review the operation of the Convention. This Review Conference presents us the opportunity to identify rooms for improvements, addressing its shortcomings, as well as to make significant progress, through the comprehensive review of the implementation of the preamble and all articles of the Convention.
Furthermore, in order to achieve the Convention’s goals, we should also underscore the paramount importance of international cooperation, assistance and partnership. We perceive the merit in establishing a framework for cooperation in order to narrow the gap among states parties, most particularly related to their resources, levels of development, and ultimately, technological capacity.
This Review Conference is the perfect place for State Parties to have a throrough and in-depth discussion, either to bring such matters of our common concerns into effect, or to probe ways for enhancing and improving the existing ones.
Indonesia welcomes the continued positive progresses of the Convention’s universalization process. Since the last report on universalization activities in the 2014 Meeting of State Parties, Indonesia notes that several States have joined the Convention since then. New accession to the BWC in the last several years, constitute a truly positive development which also commands our full support and appreciation. May these developments also serve as an encouragement for all States to work together in achieving a complete universality of this Convention in the foreseeable future.
To conclude, allow me to resonate once again Indonesia’s calls for strengthening the Convention, both by establishing an organic verification mechanism, as well as to enhance cooperation within the framework of the BWC, to narrow the capability gap between us.
We need to bear in mind that any discrepancy in that respect constitutes nothing less than a missing link in our chain. Let us be soberly reminded that the actual strength of a chain is measured by its weakest link. To fortify this weak link is our responsibility to the world, and to our future generations.
Thank you very much.
Geneva, 8 November 2016