At the invitation of the European Union (EU), with France holding its Presidency, an EU-sponsored day for National Authorities of OPCW Member States was held at the OPCW headquarters on 1 December 2008.
In his address to participants, H. E. Mr Jean-François Blarel, the Permanent Representative of France to the OPCW, underscored the valuable cooperation between the EU and the OPCW under three Joint Actions to-date (2005-2007), which have complemented the work of the Technical Secretariat with projects on universality, fulfilment of Article VII obligations, and enhancement of national capacities. Ambassador Blarel also elaborated on the EU strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, adopted in December 2003, and which serves as framework for the work of the EU in this area and the links between the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 and the CWC.
The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, thanked the EU for its financial contributions and firm support to the work of the OPCW. He noted that the three Joint Action agreements, totalling more than 5 million euros, enabled OPCW to sustain key operations in universality, national implementation and other areas of international assistance and cooperation. The Director-General emphasised that further progress can be achieved by enhancing the capacity of National Authorities to interact and work effectively with the chemical industry in their efforts towards implementing the Convention.
Mr Andreas Strub, Coordinator of the Office of Javier Solana’s Personal Representative on non-proliferation of WMD, presented the work done to date by the EU to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He characterised the essential objectives of the EU strategy to be the need to act before a threat becomes a reality and the engagement with effective multilateralism and with international cooperation.
The EU-sponsored meeting consisted of two sessions. The first focussed on the provision of information on the import and export of scheduled chemicals, Article X submissions, and legal aspects related to the implementation of the Convention. An expert from the UN 1540 Committee, Dr Berhanykun Andemicael, gave a presentation on the “Complementary Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the UN Security Council Resolution 1540”. He underlined that the implementation requirements of resolution 1540 are substantially met in the chemical area when a ratifying State adopts legislation to implement the CWC. Synergies are to be found through dialogue and assistance upon request. The second session was devoted to the preparation for and handling of industry inspections, the enhancement of capacity building through training in the chemical industry, and the advancement of the Responsible Care® programme. The involvement of the chemical industry led to further exchanges of views, leading to the development of existing or future programmes of cooperation.
OPCW News 45/2008