The Government of Ecuador – under the coordination of the National Technical Team for Chemical and Biological Weapons and the Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit (ISU) – held a workshop on implementing the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in the city of Quito on 14 October 2013. The objective of this event was to outline the activities in the national plan of action for the period 2013-2014 with funding from the European Union. Thus, it was agreed that the assistance provided by the ISU, in addition to consolidating these activities, would provide support in the drafting of a law concerning biological weapons as part of the comprehensive legislative reform on weapons, ammunitions, and explosives with technical assistance from VERTIC (the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre) and UNLIREC.

In this regard, a three-day meeting was held from 15-17 October with the National Authority on the matter, legal advisors from the ministry, VERTIC and UNLIREC, with a view to drafting a law on weapons, ammunitions and explosives which includes specific provisions on biological weapons in compliance with the provisions found in BWC, of which Ecuador has been a State Party since 1975.

Additionally, upon request from the National Authority, UNLIREC and VERTIC supported the drafting of a proposal to incorporate criminal penalties (crimes) on illicit activities relating to biological and chemical weapons and also in the manufacturing and illicit trafficking of firearms, their parts and components, ammunitions and explosives in the new Organic Penal Code (currently in the process of debate and approval in the Ecuadorian Legislative Assembly). The activity ended with the final draft of the project on the biological weapons law.

For more information about UNLIREC, visit its web page []. For any questions, contact Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer at [].