As part of its commitment to support cultural and civic activities sponsored by States Parties, the OPCW hosted a festive “Lions Day with the United Nations” event on 10 March 2012 at its headquarters in The Hague that was attended by 120 Lions Club members and guests from around the Netherlands.
The gathering was opened by the OPCW Deputy Director-General, Mrs Grace Asirwatham, and the Deputy Mayor for International Affairs of the City of The Hague, Ms Marjolein de Jong.
In her remarks Mrs Asirwatham noted that the Lions Club International was established in 1917 [PDF – 28 KB], only two years after humanity experienced the first large-scale use of chemical weapons during the First World War. She said that in the short span since its founding in 1997 the OPCW has become “a cornerstone of the global disarmament and non-proliferation edifice,” and that it shares common goals with the United Nations in promoting international peace and security.
The programme for the day also included presentations, in Dutch language, on the history of chemical warfare and on the everyday work of OPCW inspectors in verifying compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, Mr. Pieter J. P. de Savornin Lohman, enlarged upon the host country’s relationship with the OPCW.
Lions Club International is a volunteer organization with 1.35 million members in 206 countries and geographic areas that is dedicated to community service. “Lions Day with the United Nations” is organised annually in The Hague and other cities around the world with UN offices to commemorate the close and longstanding relationship between the two organisations. Although the OPCW is not formally a part of the UN system, it closely collaborates with UN agencies and offices in the field of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.