Twentieth Session of the Conference of the States Parties Concludes

4 December 2015
An image from the general debate at the 20th Session of the Conference of the States Parties

An image from the general debate at the 20th Session of the Conference of the States Parties

The Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) concluded its Twentieth Session this morning at the World Forum in The Hague. The Conference was Chaired by H.E. Ambassador Eduardo Ibarrola-Nicolin of Mexico. The Conference adopted a number of decisions, including its Programme and Budget for 2016 and also a Report with recommendations that will serve to guide the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) over the coming year.
The Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü noted today that, “the successful conclusion of the Conference underscores the strong commitment of States Parties to strengthening the global norm against chemical weapons in a manner that is responsive to future challenges.” 

The Conference reviewed the status of the implementation of the CWC across all the programme areas covering disarmament and work relating to the non re-emergence of chemical weapons,  as well as assistance and protection and international cooperation. The delegates were briefed on the progress made by possessor states in their destruction activities, including the completion of destruction activities at four facilities in the Russian Federation during the past year. The Conference noted progress in the elimination of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme.

The universality of the Convention figured as an important point of discussion. In 2015, two States joined the CWC: Myanmar and Angola, increasing the number of States Parties to 192.  The remaining States were called upon to expeditiously join the international ban on chemical weapons.

The Conference also established 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.

A number of Member States voiced their support towards a German-led initiative to advance ethical guidelines for chemistry professionals in relation to CWC obligations.

The OPCW’s continued engagement with chemical industry and the scientific community has been further endorsed by the Conference and, for the first time, included as an agenda item of the Session.

The Conference designated 29 April each year — the date in 1997 on which the Convention entered into force — as the International Day for the Foundation of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (“OPCW Day”).

The Conference adopted the Programme and Budget for 2016. A special trust fund has been created to cover the OPCW activities in Syria, in order  to account for the impact of this additional costs on the Organisation’s budget.

The Conference was attended by representatives of 134 States Parties, a signatory state, five international organisations, specialised agencies and other international bodies, in addition to over eighty representatives of 52 non-governmental organisations from all over the world. During the week, a busy schedule of side events organised by civil society organisations as well as by the OPCW enabled discussions on a number of topical issues including developments in science and technology relevant to the Convention.

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