“The support of our States Parties remains as important as ever to the success of our mission,” Deputy Director-General, Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao, said during a briefing for Permanent Representatives of States Parties to the Chemical Weapon Convention (CWC), based outside The Hague, on 10 November in Brussels, Belgium.
Twenty three representatives from 17 countries attended the briefing, in which the Deputy Director-General provided States Parties with an overview of preparations for the upcoming Conference of States Parties (CSP), scheduled to take place from 28 November to 2 December in The Hague.
Key items, highlighted by Ambassador Rao, on this year’s CSP agenda include: the OPCW’s work in the Syrian Arab Republic, recent efforts to remove the remaining chemical weapons’ precursors from Libya, Draft Programme and Budget of the OPCW for 2017, and the OPCW’s activities in education and outreach.
During the briefing, Mr Chen Kai, Director of External Relations Division, shared information on preparations for the 20th Anniversary of the OPCW, and Mr Hamza Khelif, Director of International Cooperation and Assistance (ICA) Division, provided an update of ICA programmes and activities. The briefing concluded with an interactive session on issues of interest among participants.
The Chemical Weapons Convention comprehensively prohibits the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons. Any chemical used for warfare is considered a chemical weapon by the Convention. The OPCW is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention and oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons.
The Convention entered into force in 1997. With 192 countries obligating themselves to the CWC, it is the most successful disarmament treaty in existence, eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. To date, over 93 per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor states have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.