The 5th Review Conference of the BWC ended in November 2001 with no final document, and it is not clear whether substantive issues will be taken up when the Review Conference reconvenes in fall 2002. Nevertheless, it would be useful if it, or a subsequent Review Conference, would specifically address several issues:

With respect to Article I

1. The RC should reaffirm that the general purpose prohibitions of Article I apply to plant and animal diseases, and to all agents and toxins regardless of their means of production, including artificial toxic analogues of natural transmitters, modulators, etc, generated by genomic or other methods.

2. The RC should affirm that insect pests are covered by the BTWC.

3. The RC should affirm that the development of biocontrol agents by a State Party, intended for use within its borders is generally a permitted peaceful use. It should consider whether the same is true if the only possible use is in other states and the developing state does not have the explicit approval of the country in which they are intended for use.

With respect to Article IV

4. The RC should urge all States Parties that have not yet passed implementing legislation to do so; and all States Parties with implementing legislation in place to review it to insure that it adequately covers biological attack on the agricultural sector.