Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), formally known as "The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction” was designed to supplement the Geneva Protocol of 1925 which banned the usage, but not possession, of biological and chemical weapons. The BWC explicitly states that parties may not, “develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain” any biological agents that have no peaceful purposes, or technologies that could be used to disseminate biological weapons. Parties are also required to destroy any existing biological weapons technologies.

Opened for signature10 Apr 1972
Entered into force26 Mar 1975
Latest update10 Apr 1972
Available languages
English Biological Weapons Convention
Arabic اتفاقية الأسلحة البيولوجية
Chinese (Simplified) 生物武器公约
French La Convention sur les Armes Biologiques
Russian Конвенция о биологическом оружии
Spanish Convención de Armas Biológicas

States parties

The BWC has 185 states parties (as of March 2023). Parties were given the option to submit to any of the following three depositories: United States, United Kingdom or the Soviet Union (now the Russian Federation). If states deposited their instruments of ratification/accession to more than one depositary, the earliest date was used. For more detail, view the treaty’s status from the United Nation's Office for Disarmament Affairs.

Download the data in this table to view any reservations, understandings, and declarations (RUDs). RUDs submitted exclusively to the Russian Federation are not publicly available at this time.

Download states parties (CSV, 10 kb)
Entered into force
AfghanistanParty10 Apr 197226 Mar 197526 Mar 1975
AlbaniaParty3 Jun 19923 Jun 1992
AlgeriaParty28 Sep 200128 Sep 2001
AndorraParty2 Mar 20152 Mar 2015
AngolaParty26 Jul 201626 Jul 2016
Antigua and BarbudaParty29 Jan 200329 Jan 2003
ArgentinaParty1 Aug 197227 Nov 197927 Nov 1979
ArmeniaParty7 Jun 19947 Jun 1994
AustraliaParty10 Apr 19725 Oct 19775 Oct 1977
AustriaParty10 Apr 197210 Aug 197326 Mar 1975
Showing 1 to 10 of 206 countries

The state has accepted, approved, ratified, or is otherwise party to the agreement, indicating consent to be bound to the agreement.

The state has signed, but not yet ratified or become an official party to the agreement. Where the signature is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval, the signature does not establish the consent to be bound. However, it is a means of authentication and expresses the willingness of the signatory state to continue the treaty-making process. The signature qualifies the signatory state to proceed to ratification, acceptance or approval. It also creates an obligation to refrain, in good faith, from acts that would defeat the object and the purpose of the agreement.

The state has not taken any actions with regard to the agreement.

Associate member
The state may have requirements for some of the statutory or non statutory aspects of an agreement, but would not confer all of the obligations of the agreement on the member. Associate members may not have voting rights.

The state is non-party to an agreement, but has the ability to attend meetings or other discussions, and otherwise participate in activities. Observers may be granted permission to speak at formal meetings.