Scientific Advisory Board Focuses on Third Review Conference and New Initiative in Education and Outreach

4 May 2012
Members of the Scientific Advisory Board

Members of the Scientific Advisory Board

The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) met in its 18th session at OPCW headquarters from 16 to 19 April 2012. Comprising 25 independent scientists from all regional groups, the SAB plays an important role in providing the Director-General with expert scientific advice on issues related to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The 18th session’s agenda [PDF – 24 KB] covered developments in science and technology, scientific and technological elements of verification methodologies, emerging technologies and new equipment, and Scheduled chemicals and the Annex on Chemicals, among other issues. The SAB adopted a fact sheet on ricin and a briefing note on fast gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in on-site analysis. It also began work on a report for the Director-General on developments in science and technology in preparation for the Third Review Conference in April 2013, which the SAB will finalise at its next session in September.  

The SAB elected a new chairperson, Stefan Mogl of Switzerland, to replace Philip Coleman of South Africa, whose term of office ends in August. New members Roberto Martínez Álvarez, Augustin Baulig, and Ferruccio Trifirò attended the SAB for the first time.

On 12 and 13 April the OPCW also hosted a first meeting of the SAB’s new temporary working group on education and outreach, chaired by Djafer Benachour of Algeria. The purpose of the group is to make recommendations for practical and sustainable activities which the OPCW and its Member States can undertake in this area.

The group’s 12 members were briefed on similar work undertaken by organisations such as the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO). They favourably reviewed a new video film, produced by the OPCW, which profiles a Dutch high school chemistry teacher who dedicated his career to teaching students about the importance of ethics in chemistry. The group’s meeting report was endorsed by the SAB.