The Second Review Conference (1986) agreed to the exchange of Confidence-building Measures (CBMs) “in order to prevent or reduce the occurrence of ambiguities, doubts and suspicions and in order to improve international cooperation in the field of peaceful biological activities”. The CBMs were expanded during a meeting of scientific and technical experts in 1987, and were modified and considerably expanded by the Third Review Conference in 1991. These forms were used for twenty years between 1991 and 2011. For reference purposes, copies of the old forms and guidance are still available. The Sixth Review Conference in 2006 agreed on several improvements to the mechanisms for submission and distribution, notably on the development of a mechanism for the electronic submission and distribution of CBMs. Paper publication of CBM submissions was subsequently discontinued. The Seventh Review Conference in 2011 revised the CBMs as well as the relevant modalities and forms.
As a result of this process, the CBMs now consist of six measures, A to G (without D):
|CBM A||Part 1: Exchange of data on research centres and laboratories;
Part 2: Exchange of information on national biological defence research and development programmes.
|CBM B||Exchange of information on outbreaks of infectious diseases and similar occurrences caused by toxins.|
|CBM C||Encouragement of publication of results and promotion of use of knowledge.|
|CBM E||Declaration of legislation, regulations and other measures.|
|CBM F||Declaration of past activities in offensive and/or defensive biological research and development programmes.|
|CBM G||Declaration of vaccine production facilities.
CBMs are to be submitted the BWC Implementation Support Unit in the Geneva Branch of United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs no later than 15 April each year. The information provided covers the previous calendar year (for example, you should submit your CBM covering calendar year 2010 no later than 15 April 2011).
2014 CBM submissions (covering 2013) are now due.
The following is the new Blank CBM Form, extracted from BWC/CONF.VII/7, in Word document format:
Please click here to access the English version of the CBM revised guide 2013.
Please click here to access the Chinese version of the CBM revised guide 2013.
Please click here to access the French version of the CBM revised guide 2013.
Please click here to access the Russian version of the CBM revised guide 2013.
Please click here to access the Spanish version of the CBM revised guide 2013.
Please click here to access the Arabic version of the CBM revised guide 2013.
For reference purposes copies of the old forms are still available.
Completing the CBM forms takes time, especially for the first year of participation. As each country’s system of government is different, here are some general suggestions:
- Start early: the CBM deadline is April 15. Collecting the necessary information typically requires contacting several different government ministries and agencies, a process which could take a long time.
- Use information that has already been compiled: some of the information required for the CBMs may also be required for other purposes, such as reports to the WHO or those mandated by Security Council Resolution 1540.
- Be clear: if there is nothing to declare for a particular measure, say so, rather than leaving the form for that measure blank. Similarly, if there is incomplete information, or information that will be provided later, say so on the form. Remember that the purpose of the CBMs is to increase transparency, therefore incomplete information is better than none.
Below are some informal suggestions for completing each of the measures:
CBM Cover Sheet
The CBM Cover Sheet is a summary sheet which shows which forms (A to G) you have filled in this year.
If you have provided information on a form, leave both of the tick boxes for that form empty.
Else, if information that you have previously provided in a CBM has not changed in subsequent years, tick the “nothing new to declare” box for that form instead. Then write the year of the last declaration you made for this form in the appropriate box. Please also write “nothing new to declare” on the form itself too- do not just leave it blank.
If neither of the above, tick the “nothing to declare” box: this signifies you had nothing to declare on a form this year and that there are no information submitted in past years of relevance. Please also write “nothing to declare” on the form itself too- do not just leave it blank.
CBM A: Part 1: Exchange of data on research centres and laboratories
The first step is to identify any facilities having maximum containment laboratories meeting the criteria for such laboratories as specified in the WHO Laboratory Biosafety Manual. In many countries, the ministry of health will posess this information; ministries of science, technology or education may also be relevant.
The responsible ministry or agency may have the required information about these facilities on file, in which case it is simply a matter of transferring the data to the CBM form. Alternatively, it may be necessary to contact each facility individually to obtain the necessary information about its activities.
CBM A: Part 2: Exchange of information on national biological defence research and development programmes
The ministry of defence will in almost all cases be responsible for any biological defence programmes, if they exist. The form requires very detailed information, and the ministry will probably need considerable time to provide it.
CBM B: Exchange of information on outbreaks of infectious diseases and similar occurrences caused by toxins
This measure requires information on outbreaks of disease “that seem to deviate from the normal pattern”. The form contains additional information on how to determine whether an outbreak meets this criterion. The ministry of health will in most cases be the source of information for diseases affecting humans, while the ministry of agriculture or equivalent agency will have data on outbreaks affecting animals and plants. For human diseases, the ministry of health may already have submitted a report(s) to the WHO, and this will be increasingly common with the entery into force of the WHO’s revised International Health Regulations (IHR) in 2007. Similarly, the ministry of agriculture may report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) or to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on animal and plant disease outbreaks, respectively.
CBM C : Encouragement of publication of results and promotion of use of knowledge
This measure requires States Parties to provide information on “their policy as regards publication of results of biological research”. Some states may have a single policy while others may have a range of policies and guidelines set by different authorities. The ministry of education, ministry of science, or equivalents, may have this information. It may also be worth enquiring with the national academy of science, professional associations connected with biology, and/or the association representing universities in your country.
CBM E: Declaration of legislation, regulations and other measures
This form requires declarations on any legislation, regulations and other measures relating in particular to Article I (development, production, stockpiling, etc) and Article III (import and export, i.e. transfers). In the interests of transparency, you may also wish to provide information on legislation and regulations governing the security of pathogens, biosafety, licensing of personnel, and anything else relating to national implementation of the Convention.
This topic was discussed in detail at the Meeting of Experts in 2003 and in 2008. It is advisable to look at the documents of that meeting for ideas on which legislation and regulations to include in the CBM. Important: your country may already have provided (or be in the process of providing) very similar information to the United Nations Security Council 1540 Committee. You can use this information to complete this CBM form.
In addition to completing Form E, it would be helpful if you could provide the ISU with copies of the aforementioned legislation and regulations or, if available, an internet link to the text.
Once you have declared the legislation and regulations, in subsequent years you need only indicate if there has been any change or amendment.
CBM F : Declaration of past activities in offensive and/or defensive biological research and development programmes
If your country has conducted any offensive and/or defensive biological research and development programmes since 1 January 1946, it should be described on this form. The amount of detail to be provided is at the discretion of the State Party, but in the interest of transparency, consider providing as much information as possible.
CBM G: Declaration of vaccine production facilities
On this form you should list all vaccine production facilities, regardless of whether they are owned or run by the government or by a private company, and note which facilities produce vaccines that are licensed by your government for use for the protection of humans. You are not required to list facilities which produce only vaccines for animals or plants (although you may wish to do so in the interest of transparency). The ministry of health is usually the responsible agency for licensing vaccines, and should be able to provide a list of facilities.
The preferred submission option is an electronic CBM return (as a Microsoft Word, RTF, or PDF document). These can be sent to email@example.com. All e-mail submissions will be acknowledged.
A hard copy with a note verbale as the cover can be sent from your permanent mission in Geneva, either by post or by fax, to:
BWC Implementation Support Unit
Office for Disarmament Affairs (Geneva Branch)
Room C.115-117, Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10
Fax: %2B 41 (0)22 917 04 83
Options for publication
Since 2007, CBM submissions are published in the restricted area of this website (accessible only to States Parties) unless the submitting State Party requests otherwise. Please inform the ISU if you do not want your CBM published on the secure website. Any CBMs that are not published on the website will be circulated to States Parties on CD-ROM. Some States Parties have opted to make their CBM returns available on the public section of this website. These can be found on the CBM Returns page.
Missed the deadline?
CBM returns are due by 15 April each year. If you miss this deadline, please do still submit the return as soon as you can: it is better if you submit a CBM after the deadline than not at all. If your CBM is received too late for inclusion in the paper version of the annual ISU report, it will be issued as an addendum.
If you have problems or questions during the CBM process, please contact the ISU and we will do our best to help: see the contact page for details.
The ISU is also interested in receiving perspectives on any obstacles to participating in the CBMs, as well as suggestions for improvements to the current system. Such ideas can be fed into ongoing efforts to facilitate participation in the CBMs and improve their utility to States Parties.