The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) held its 20th session from 10 to 14 June 2013 at the OPCW headquarters in The Hague under the chairmanship of Mr. Stefan Mogl (Switzerland), with Professor Alejandra Graciela Suárez (Argentina) serving as vice-chair.
In his opening statement the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, highlighted the importance of science and technology to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) which the Third Review Conference strongly reaffirmed in April.
“This demonstrates a commitment from States Parties to ensure the OPCW remains diligent with regard to science and technology, and continues to develop its expertise and knowledge of relevant scientific and technological developments,” the Director-General said.
The Director-General asked the SAB to provide advice on riot-control agents as well as further advice on medical countermeasures and treatment against blister and nerve agents.
The SAB endorsed reports received from its three Temporary Working Groups (TWG): on education and outreach in science and technology, which held its second meeting in November 2012; on verification, which held its first meeting in March 2013, and on the convergence of chemistry and biology, which held its third meeting in April 2013. Each TWG will produce a substantive scientific report by the end of its mandate.
The SAB comprises 25 independent scientists from all regional groups and provides expert scientific advice to the Director-General on CWC-related issues. As Mr Mogl’s term as a SAB member ends in October, the Board elected Professor Suárez as its new chair and Dr Christopher Timperley (United Kingdom) as vice-chair, effective 15 June. Four new members of the SAB appointed by the Director-General attended for the first time: Dr Carlos David Gonzalez Berrutti (Uruguay), Dr Nicia Maria Fusaro Mourao (Brazil), Dr Timperley, and Mr Francois Mauritz van Straten (South Africa).
A report on the session will be issued shortly, followed by the Director-General’s response. For more information about the SAB, please visit their section on our web site.