Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Third Dispatch from Carol in Geneva

From the
Bio-Weapons Treaty Sixth Review Conference
Third dispatch from Carol Urner at the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland: 11/22/06

NOTE: Contact me with questions and comments at carol.disarm@gmail.com. The UN chambers have wireless and I will try to respond.

Oddly, this third day seemed the most productive yet, even though NGO reps and other non-official delegates can no longer access the official sessions. This is because the daily seminar (described below) was, for me, fantastic. I was again only able to spend a half hour in the WILPF office but met more delightful young interns. I plan to introduce at least some of them to you before I cease sending these dispatches next week.

You can find a longer report of the third day at the BWC at the Disarm Committee website. This was the most fruitful day yet in many ways even though the sessions of the BWC are now closed to all but official delegates. The seminar presented by three NGOs on the huge briefing book they have provided at the conference turned out to be very exciting. The book is almost two inches thick and has all the background documents needed to understand what is going on here. I have picked up an extra copy for the WILPF office since this will be a basic reference book for years to come. But most useful was the presentation by one of the three NGOs which compiled the book, VERTIC, and the presentation of another smaller document they have prepared on steps that can be taken now, even without an inspection protocol, to begin developing transparency and the verification necessary. It concentrates on steps to be taken by nation states themselves, and I think we can encourage some of our committee chairs in the new Congress to begin taking steps in this direction. I picked up only two copies of the book before the supply was exhausted, but Angela Woodward, the presenter, has promised to furnish with a web link where the entire document can be viewed or downloaded.


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