THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 28 April 2017 — A delegation from Namibia gained a deeper understanding of activities related to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on a visit to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) Headquarters, from 19-21 April 2017.
During the visit, the delegation met with OPCW’s Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, alongside senior OPCW staff to discuss issues related to its national implementation of the CWC, the overall progress being made on destruction of chemical weapons, the status of the mission in Syria, and efforts to universalise the CWC.
The Director-General’s briefing emphasised the importance of nurturing a legislative mechanism for effective national implementation and encouraged the delegation to undertake activities to reinforce the indispensable nature of the CWC and the role of the OPCW as the international authority on chemical weapons, during the OPCW’s 20th anniversary year.
A series of meetings with OPCW officials further shed light on matters related to the early adoption of CWC implementing legislation and on ensuring effective implementation of the Convention on a national level. On the last day of the visit, the delegation was escorted to the OPCW Laboratory in Rijswijk.
This visit enabled delegates to gain a better understanding of the Convention and provided a valuable opportunity for them to prepare and review an action plan for the adoption of the draft legislation.
Members of the delegation included a Member of Namibia’s Parliament, the Honourable Mr. Leevi Katoma, the Permanent Secretary and Chief of the Legislative Drafting Committee of the Ministry of Justice, and senior officials from the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, and the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation.
The visit was conducted as part of the OPCW’s Influential Visitors Programme (IVP) that aims at supporting States Parties throughout the process of implementing legislation within their respective national systems. The Programme was successfully launched in 2015 for Uganda and resulted in adoption of the national legislation by the Ugandan Parliament.
Namibia received assistance from the OPCW in preparing the initial draft of its national legislation in 2015, through its participation in the Internship Programme for Legal Drafters and National Authority Representatives that was organised by the Technical Secretariat.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
To date, nearly 95 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.