The inter-active debate last Monday clearly illustrated that the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is achieving impressive results. We must continue our ceaseless efforts to rid the world from chemical weapons. We urge the few remaining countries which have not joined the Convention to do so without delay.
The CWC is not only promoting non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We consider the CWC as an essential instrument for disarmament. Therefore it is essential that the destruction of chemical weapons as well as conversion of chemical weapons production facilities are carried out within the agreed time-limits.
Lessons drawn from the CWC are highly relevant for the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (BTWC). That does not, however, imply that everything done in the CWC can be applied for the BTWC.
The upcoming Review Conference of the BTWC offers us an opportunity to further consolidate the norm set by the Convention as well as the 1925 Geneva Protocol. In this respect it is important that we base our deliberations on the good work done under the work programme which was adopted in 2002.
Together with like-minded countries, Norway will advocate the adoption of practical and do-able measures. There are a number of areas which will make a valuable contribution to the well-functioning and further strengthening of the BTWC. Let me highlight some of them:
• We need an inter-sessional programme of work, which allows States Parties to address existing as well as emerging challenges.
• We need to refine and improve the confidence building measures. More countries should provide annual reports. Reporting should be considered an obligation and not an option.
• We must clearly put in more efforts to universalise the BTWC. Here we have much to learn from the CWC experience.
• Likewise we should draw on the experiences from the CWC in promoting national implementation. This obligation is also clearly stated in Security Council Resolution 1540.
• We need more dialogue on how to bring the BTWC article X on assistance forward. It goes without saying that well-functioning primary health systems provide the best defence against diseases.
• We must develop preventive measures such as Codes of Conduct for those involved in the life sciences. We must build on what has been achieved during the current programme of work.
• We must further strengthen response and investigating mechanisms in cases of alleged use of biological weapons.
• We need to ensure that States parties are adequately serviced by a well-functioning support unit. We greatly appreciate the contribution by the DDA so far, but we believe that more resources should be put into a support unit.
Let me also underline that the BTWC community should enhance partnership with relevant actors such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). At the same time we have to be sensitive to the mandates of these institutions. Norway remains convinced in the wisdom of increased involvement of the ICRC and civil society.
Finally, my delegation would like to express appreciation to Ambassador Masood Khan for the way he chaired the Meeting in the Preparatory Committee for the Review Conference. Under his very able guidance, the States Parties managed to agree on the modalities for the Review Conference. This augurs well for a positive outcome of the Review Conference. We appeal to all States parties to go the extra mile to ensure such a success.