I took on the role of NGO Coordinator for the Biological Weapons Convention in 2017.
I initiated the first joint NGO statement which I delivered to the BWC Meeting of States Parties on 5 December 2017 on behalf of nearly 60 organisations and individuals. Listen to the delivery here:
- BWC Meeting of Experts 1, Geneva 7 August 2018
- UN General Assembly First Committee, New York 18 October 2018
- BWC Meeting of States Parties, Geneva 5 December 2018
My role as NGO Coordinator builds on my long-standing engagement with the BWC through statements at BWC meetings. I have delivered statements in the NGO session at the last three Review Conferences of the BWC and at each of the biannual meetings in between. Most of these statements have been given together with my colleague Nicholas Sims (Emeritus Reader in International Relations, LSE). More recently, we have been joined by our colleague Brian Balmer (Professor in Science Policy Studies, University College London). King’s, LSE and UCL are all members of the University of London, a confederation of academically and financially autonomous colleges with a long history of joint endeavours in education and research.
I initiated a joint NGO Position Paper to the first set of expert meetings in the 2018-2020 intersessional cycle. The position paper sets out collective views on key action points for the 7-16 August 2018 meetings. I delivered a statement introducing the position paper on the opening day of the meetings. Watch the archived livestream of the meeting with my delivery of the statement at 3:02:00.
UN General Assembly First Committee
The First Committee Monitor is a collaborative NGO effort undertaken to make the work of the First Committee more transparent and accessible. In 2018, I wrote the first set of contributions focusing solely on biological weapons.
- First Committee Monitor 15 October 2018
- First Committee Monitor 22 October 2018
- First Committee Monitor 29 October 2018
- First Committee Monitor 11 November 2018
Civil society plays an important role in supporting biological arms control and non-proliferation. In a December 2015 workshop in Geneva—convened together with Chatham House, ILPI and GCSP, and supported by Switzerland–I brought together more than 30 participants from a wide variety of civil society organizations, research institutions, international organizations and a select group of states to start exploring ways in which to enhance the role and contribution of civil society to the BWC.
I continued the dialogue on civil society engagement with the BWC by convening a June 2016 workshop in Geneva together with ILPI, a October 2016 workshop in Washington DC together with the biodefense program at George Mason University, and a December 2017 workshop in Geneva together with the Geneva Disarmament Forum.
It was with great sadness we learned of the loss of Dr Volker Beck, a long-standing BW expert from Germany, in late December 2017. Many of us in the NGO community had the privilege to work alongside him for many years, and I collated our tributes to him in a memorial book to Dr Volker Beck.
A tribute to Dr Graham Pearson, on his retirement from the role of NGO Coordinator in November 2016.