Electronic Journal of Biotechnology ISSN: 0717-3458
  © 1999 by Universidad Católica de Valparaíso -- Chile
Vol. 2 No. 3, Issue of December 15, 1999


Table 1. Chronological summary of conventions, protocols and resolutions curbing biological warfare




Hague, Netherlands*

The Laws and Customs of War on Land (II)

  • Entering into force in 1900, the Convention in defining the rules, laws and customs of war, based on deliberation of the Brussels Peace Conference of 1874, prohibited the use of poison and poisoned weapons as well as the use of arms, projectiles and/or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering

Hague, Netherland **
The Laws and Customs of War on Land (IV)
  • Entering into force in 1910, the Convention covers issues, and customs in more detail, relating to belligerents, prisoners of war, the sick and wounded, means of injuring the enemy, and bombardments, etc.

Geneva, Switzerland
Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare
  • In force since 1928, the protocol prohibits the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices, and, the use of bacteriological methods of warfare

Geneva, Switzerland
Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction
  • Entering into force in 1975, the Convention

- prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition and retention of microbial or other biological agents or toxins that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes

- their use as weapons, or in military equipment, missiles and other means of delivery for hostile use or in armed conflict

- further development and application of scientific discoveries in the field of bacteriology (biology) for the prevention of disease, or for other peaceful purposes
Paris, France
Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources
  • Amended by a protocol in March, 1986, the Convention covers

- prevention of pollution of the sea inclusive of marine estuaries, by humankind either by direct or indirect means, through introduction of substances  of energy resulting in deleterious effects as hazards to human health, living marine resources, marine ecosystems, and damage to amenities, or interference with other legitimate uses of the sea

Geneva, U.N.
Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques
  • Adopted by the Resolution 31/72 of the U.N. General Assembly on 10 December, 1976, and open for signature in Geneva, 18 May, 1877, the Convention focuses on any technique that changes "through deliberate manipulation of natural processes-- the dynamics, the composition or structure of the Earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space"

Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
Co-operation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central African Region
  • The Convention which entered into force in 1984 covers

- the marine environment, coastal zones, and related inland waters within the jurisdiction of the States of the West and Central African Region

- the introduction, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment, coastal zones, and related inland waters resulting in deleterious effects that harm living resources, endanger human health, obstruct marine activities (inclusive of fishing) and alters the quality and use of seawater and reduction of amenities.

- promotes scientific and technological co-operation to monitor and assess direct and/or indirect pollution, and to engage in networking exchange of scientific data and technical information.

Bonn, Germany
Co-operation in Dealing with Pollution of the North Sea by Oil and Other Harmful Substances
  • Agreement, by the governments of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the U.K., and the European Economic Community, based on an agreement reached in Bonn, 1969, covers

- prevention of pollution of the sea by oil and other hazardous substances

- development of mutual assistance and co-operation in combating marine pollution and destruction of marine bioresources

Basle, Switzerland
Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
  • Known as the Basel Convention, it entered into force in 1992, and covers a variety of hazardous wastes resulting from wastes such as clinical wastes, household wastes, radioactive wastes, and toxic wastes resulting from the production of biological, medicines, the chemical industry, etc.***

Bamako, Mali
Ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes with Africa
  • Known as the Bamako Convention, and yet to enter into force, the Convention focuses on the

- need to promote the development of clean production methods, including clean technologies, for the sound management of hazardous wastes produced in Africa, in particular, to avoid, minimise, and eliminate the generation of such wastes

- protection, through strict control, the human health of the African population against the adverse effects which may result from the generation and movement of hazardous wastes within the African Continent.

Bucharest, Romania
Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution
  • The Convention takes into account the

- special hydrological and ecological characteristics of the Black Sea, and the susceptibility of its flora and fauna to pollutants and noxious wastes of biological and chemical origin resulting from disposal systems, and dumping by aircraft and seaborne craft

- need to develop co-operative scientific monitoring systems to minimise and eliminate pollution of the Black Sea

Geneva, Switzerland
Prohibition of the Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction
  • Entering into force in 1997, the Convention prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition or retention of chemical weapons, their transfer, directly or indirectly to anyone, as well as their use in any military preparations or in missile delivery systems or weapons


* Year of the First International Peace Conference based on invitations from Czar Nicholas II of Russia and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

**   Year of the Second International Peace Conference.  The Third Conference scheduled for 1915 never took place due to outbreak of the First World War.

***  The reader is referred to Annexes I - V appended to the Treaty and which covers the range, categories and characteristics of hazardous wastes and conditions concerning their transbound

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