Achieving a world permanently free of chemical weapons requires working together. For over two decades, the OPCW has sought, established, and implemented partnerships with chemical industry, international organisations, civil society and others with a stake in the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
An Essential Partner: Chemical Industry
Chemical industry’s contributions to achieving a world free of chemical weapons have proven essential and include: participating in the negotiations of the Convention, implementing fully the Convention’s provisions, and ensuring a functioning and trusted verification regime through declarations submissions and on-site inspections.
Industrial facilities that have the potential to produce chemicals that could be further processed into chemical weapons are required to provide information to National Authorities in charge of completing annual declarations to be submitted to the OPCW.
Currently, 4,374 inspections of industrial chemical facilities have been conducted since entry into force of the Convention. Each year, 241 industry inspections are anticipated to take place. During these inspections, OPCW inspectors confirm that no chemicals are being produced or used for prohibited purposes and that the activities at inspected sites are in compliance with the Convention. This is how industry does its part to make sure chemical weapons do not re-emerge.
The successful completion of so many chemical industry inspections represents meaningful progress in achieving universal compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. Chemical industry inspections help promote confidence that States Parties to the Convention are adhering to their obligation to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons.
OPCW’s Relationship with Chemical Industry
The relationship between the OPCW and the chemical industry has evolved over time. OPCW is no longer only seen as an auditor and regulator, but instead OPCW is seen as a partner for improving the verification regime that ensures chemicals are not used for prohibited purposes, and improving the capacity of States Parties through international cooperation programmes.
Building on years of cooperative work between the OPCW and chemical industry, the partnership has taken new form. In 2015, a coordination mechanism was established with the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) in 2015 through the creation of the OPCW–ICCA Joint Steering Committee, as well as the establishment of the Chemical Industry Coordination Group (CICG). Areas of cooperation with ICCA cover verification activities as well as education and outreach, and chemical safety and security.
Vital Partners: OPCW and International Organisations
The OPCW and the United Nations signed a Relationship Agreement in 2001 outlining the modalities for their future cooperation and the mechanisms for consultation on matters of mutual interest and concern. The OPCW’s Conference of the States Parties approved the agreement one year later.
Over the years, OPCW has forged other important relationships to advance its mission and implement the Convention. In 2012, OPCW signed an agreement with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to coordinate activities in case of chemical weapon emergencies. In 2017, OPCW and the World Customs Organization (WCO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding that further enhances cooperation between the two organisations to tighten national and international controls on the trade of toxic chemicals.
Convention Champions: Civil Society
Building on the long-standing contributions of civil-society to the goals of the Convention, a dedicated group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) gathered from 2-3 December 2009 during the 14th Conference of the States Parties in The Hague, to establish the Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition (CWC Coalition). The CWC Coalition is a global network of civil society organisations and representatives that champion the goals of the Convention and its stated mission is: “To support the aims of the Chemical Weapons Convention and to supplement the efforts of the member states of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, with focused civil society action aimed at achieving full membership of the CWC, the safe and timely elimination of all chemical weapons, preventing the misuse of chemicals for hostile purposes, and promoting their peaceful use.”
The CWC Coalition is comprised of over 50 associations and dozens of individual activists from around the world who raise awareness and advocate for a world free of chemical weapons. At the 2013 Review Conference, the Conference of the States Parties decided to ensure the attendance and participation of NGOs at all future CSPs and Review Conferences.