Participation data for the international meetings between 2010 and 2014 of thirteen multilateral forums addressing disarmament and weapons issues* shows the significant underrepresentation of lower income countries, certain regions and women in these processes.

Lower income countries are less likely to be members of treaties or forums on weapons and disarmament. Low-income countries also ratify treaties at a slower rate on average than high-income countries (with the exception of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention from 2003). Lower income countries are less likely to meet their reporting obligations under these instruments. They are less likely to attend, speak at or hold formal roles in multilateral meetings on disarma- ment and weapons issues. Where they do attend, they field smaller delegations.

Across the board, women are significantly underrepresented in multi- lateral disarmament forums, making up less than a quarter of country delegates, leading around a fifth of country delegations at meetings, and giving less than a fifth of their statements on average.

This briefing paper, prepared for delegates at the 2016 Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention, summarises patterns in participation for meetings of the BWC within this dataset, comparing these to other forums and averages across the data.



Patterns in participation: the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, 2010-14

November 2016

Briefing paper


*Article 36 has collected quantitative data on the international meetings of: the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (MBT); the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT); the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC); the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC); the Convention

on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW); the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM); the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); meet- ings on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); the Conference on Disarmament (CD); the UN General Assembly First Committee; the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (POA); the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC); and international confer- ences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons (HINW).


Image: UN in Geneva © Campaign to Stop Killer Robots