The Twentieth Session of the Conference of the States Parties (CSP) to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) opened today at the World Forum in The Hague, Netherlands.
The CSP is the principal organ of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and consists of all members of the OPCW. It meets annually and oversees the implementation of the Convention.
“The Twentieth Session of the Conference of States Parties is taking place at a crucial moment” said the Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü. “We are celebrating the achievements of the Organisation, most notably in the verified destruction of over 90 per cent of the declared stocks of chemical weapons, and are looking forward to meeting new challenges. Our work will continue to ensure full universality and prevent the re-emergence of a chemical weapons threat in the future”.
A special message from the Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon was delivered at the opening session of the CSP. He underlined that “the Convention is a critical part of the international disarmament architecture” and called “upon those States that are not yet a party to the CWC to accede to it at the earliest possible date.”
The Conference will discuss the progress of implementation of the Convention globally, including new and important developments including the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism tasked with the endeavour to identify those responsible to use of chemicals as weapons in Syria.
At a ceremony today, Dr Alastair Hay of the United Kingdom and Dr Mahdi Balali-Mood of the Islamic Republic of Iran will receive the second annual OPCW-The Hague Award, for their outstanding contribution to achieving a world free of chemical weapons.
The Conference is expected to establish an Advisory Board on Education and Outreach. Its role will be to render specialised advice regarding the Organisation’s education and outreach activities, and those of States Parties’ with a view to making these more effective and sustainable.
The Conference will also adopt the 2016 programme and budget for the OPCW Technical Secretariat.
A number of side events with civil society participation have been planned for the week of the Conference, covering a range of issues that impact the implementation of the CWC, including: emerging artificial intelligence technologies, ethical guidelines for chemical research and industry, medical management of chemical warfare casualties, and others. OPCW’s documentary series, the Fires, will also be screened.
This year’s conference is attended by representatives of 134 out of the total of 192 States Parties, together with a signatory state, eight international organisations, specialised agencies and other international bodies, in addition to over a hundred representatives of 52 non-governmental organisations from all over the world.