THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 31 May 2017 — The Deputy Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Hamid Ali Rao delivered the keynote address at a Ceremonial Meeting of the Croatian National Authority for the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) held in Zagreb, Croatia on 31 May. This special event commemorated the 20th anniversary of the OPCW and entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
The Deputy-Director General, in assessing the OPCW’s achievements, stressed the Organisation’s dedication to confronting the “series of challenges to the norm we have worked so hard to build”.
He continued to state, “The rising threat of non-state actors, the pace of economic development, and the evolution of science and technology are all shaping the future of our Organisation and of our treaty,” and outlined the OPCW’s new approaches required for its indispensable role in the modern security architecture.
Ambassador Rao paid homage to the memory of the victims of chemical weapons across the world, and provided the reminder that “the Convention and the work of the OPCW represent the most effective bulwark against the cruelty of chemical weapons, in whatever form they take and whomever seeks to use them”.
During his visit to Zagreb, the Deputy Director-General met with a number of Croatian officials including the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs’ Assistant Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs, Mr Amir Muharemi. Ambassador Rao also met with many experts, including academics and scientists. During his visit to the Institute Ruđer Bošković, he was hosted by the Institute’s Director-General Professor Tome Antičić. The Deputy Director-General further held talks with the Dean of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology of the Zagreb University's Department of Chemistry, Professor Bruno Zelić.
The Republic of Croatia ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997 and has been an active partner in supporting OPCW’s work over the years.
Croatia has regularly hosted and contributed to international cooperation, and assistance and protection events. A special partnership exists between the OPCW and the Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC) - an international body fostering dialogue and cooperation on security matters in South Eastern Europe.
The Commemorative Ceremony marking the 20th Anniversary of the entry into force of the CWC and the founding of the OPCW took place on 26 April in The Hague, with the attendance of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and a number of high dignitaries.
Commemorative events are being held around the world by OPCW Member States and other partners through December. These events highlight the important role played by the OPCW to achieve a world permanently free of chemical weapons.
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.