Message to the 15th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention

29 November 2010

It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to the Fifteenth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The world is witnessing new momentum in national and multilateral efforts to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction.  The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and its member States make an important contribution to that quest by ensuring full and effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  The Convention remains an effective, comprehensive and non-discriminatory legal instrument to verify both the destruction of existing stockpiles of chemical weapons and the prevention of their proliferation.

I welcome the significant progress that has been made, including the destruction of more than 60 per cent of the world’s declared stockpiles of chemical weapons under strict verification.  Three possessor States have completed their destruction obligations, and deserve recognition for their achievement.  The efforts of the remaining possessor States are commendable.  The challenge now is to summon the political will and resources — human and financial — to fulfil all destruction obligations by April 2012.

The systematic verification of the global chemical industry is also effectively serving the non-proliferation goals of the Convention.  Every year, the OPCW inspects more than two hundred industrial facilities.  These inspections are unique to the CWC and are a credit to the global chemical industry’s support for the Convention.

With 188 States Parties encompassing 98 percent of the global population, the Convention is approaching universal membership, thereby moving ever closer to eliminating the possibility that chemical weapons will be used.  However, it is crucial for the remaining seven States that are not Party to the Convention to join without delay.  Their accession would build confidence in their respective regions and strengthen international peace and security in general.

The spirit of cooperation and consensus that characterizes the work of the OPCW shows how diverse national interests can be reconciled in the pursuit of a worthy common end.  Your work is establishing a strong foundation for ensuring that chemistry is used exclusively for the benefit of humankind.  The United Nations looks forward to our continued work together to promote the Convention’s universality and full implementation.  In that spirit of partnership, I wish you all a productive session.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations

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