OPCW Scientific Advisory Board Issues Report on Verification

12 June 2015
Deputy Director-General, Ambassador Grace Asirwatham, with members of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board.

Deputy Director-General, Ambassador Grace Asirwatham, with members of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board.


The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) held its 22nd session from 8 to 12 June 2015 at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague under the chairmanship of Dr Christopher Timperley (United Kingdom and Northern Ireland), with Mr Cheng Tang (China) serving as Vice-Chair.


In the opening statement delivered on behalf of the Director-General of the OPCW, the Deputy Director-General, Ambassador Grace Asirwatham highlighted the importance of science and technology in preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons.

“Science and technology are ingrained in the Chemical Weapons Convention, which makes the expert advice of the Scientific Advisory Board vital for our efforts to track latest developments,” said Ambassador Asirwatham.

The SAB endorsed the report received from its Temporary Working Group (TWG) on verification. The SAB also submitted a report with further advice on medical countermeasures for exposure to nerve agents, such as sarin.

Commenting on the reports, Dr Timperley noted, “Verification is at the heart of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and we hope our advice will better inform the OPCW’s efforts to achieve a world free of chemical weapons.”

At this session, the SAB heard from three guest speakers: Professor Åke Sellström on lessons identified from the 2013 United Nations Investigation into Alleged Uses of Chemical Weapons in the Syria Arab Republic, which he led; Dr Istvan Gyarmati in his capacity as Chairperson of the Advisory Board of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Disarmament Matters; and Dr Daan Noort (The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) on chemical forensics.

The SAB also discussed developments related to the convergence of chemistry and biology (including green chemistry), and education and outreach. To prepare its comprehensive report to the Fourth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the SAB will meet twice in 2016 and in 2017.

A report on the 22nd session of the SAB will be issued shortly, followed by the Director-General’s response.