The 16th annual meeting of CWC National Authorities was successfully concluded at the OPCW headquarters in The Hague from 27 to 30 November 2014, with a highest-ever attendance of 235 participants from 130 States Parties representing all regional groups.* Two regional organisations, CARICOM and the African Union, as well as representatives of Myanmar, a State not Party, also attended.
The annual meeting was preceded by a one-day symposium on “Bridging International Gaps in Chemical Security”. In his opening remarks to the symposium, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü highlighted the fundamental shift that will occur in the Organisation’s future focus, from destroying existing chemical weapons stockpiles to preventing their re-emergence. He noted that this shift will occur against the backdrop of increasing globalization of the chemical industry, spectacular advances in science, technology and communications, and a growing proliferation threat from non-state actors. In this light, the Director-General stressed the importance of expanding education and outreach to engage the broadest possible community of stakeholders who can contribute to the OPCW’s non-proliferation efforts.
The meeting’s extensive agenda included thematic and informative sessions covering important recent developments related to implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Break-out groups focussed on six distinct issues: effective implementation of the Article VI regime for declarations and inspections; effective national implementation through Articles VII, X and XI; science and technology; education and outreach; universality; and engagement with the chemical industry. Participants also met in regional groups to discuss ways and means to foster regional and sub-regional cooperation to ensure effective implementation of the Convention.
The meeting provided opportunities for networking with National Authorities from around the world and for effective interaction with the Technical Secretariat. It also generated ideas and recommendations for further consideration by the Organisation and the States Parties.
*Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Western Europe and Other States