Tabletop Exercise (TTX) on the Implementation of Article VII of the BTWC

8–9 November 2016, Geneva, Switzerland

Together with the Fondation pour la recherche stratégique (FRS) and with support from France and the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UNIDIR organized a tabletop exercise in Geneva from 8 to 9 November 2016. This event coincided with the Eighth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) from 7 to 25 November 2016.

A widely held view in the international community is that there is an urgent need to hone preparedness in order to assist each in the event of biological weapons use. BWC Article VII is important in this regard:
Each State Party to this Convention undertakes to provide or support assistance, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, to any Party to the Convention which so requests, if the Security Council decides that such Party has been exposed to danger as a result of violation of the Convention.

Because no State Party to the BWC has yet made a request under Article VII, there is a need for critical reflection on the conditions, procedures and factors in decision-making if this was to occur. This was the goal of the tabletop exercise, as well as aiming to identify issues that require further study and clarification.

The tabletop exercise, held in the Palais des Nations, gathered 26 national representatives from 14 different countries, and covered the timeframe between a hypothetical suspicious disease outbreak and the call for activation of Article VII by a State Party. Core questions arising were: under which conditions is Article VII actionable? Why activate Article VII? What does it provide that other kinds of response do not?

Preliminary findings of the tabletop exercise were presented at a side-meeting convened by FRS and UNIDIR on the margins of the BWC Review Conference on 14 November 2016.

Partner: Fondation pour la recherche stratégique.


Support from UNIDIR's core funders provides the foundation for all of the Institute's activities.
In addition, dedicated project funding was received from the Government of France.