THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 19 May 2017 – Representatives from 21 Eastern European States came together to discuss progress, achievements and challenges faced by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), at the 16th Regional Meeting of National Authorities in Tbilisi, Georgia, 3 – 5 May.
Within the framework of 20 years of the OPCW and Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), panel discussions focused on issues related to regional and global security, the importance of partnering with the chemical industry, the increasing role of education and outreach, and the promotion of peaceful uses of chemistry.
Topics of particular interest included challenges in implementing the verification regime, finding innovative ways of solving transfer discrepancies, and the identification of declarable activities.
In his opening remarks Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, H.E. David Dondua, highlighted the role of the OPCW in eliminating chemical weapons and called upon States Parties to comply with their international obligations under the CWC and other international non-proliferation agreements.
Over the course of the Meeting, National Authorities were joined by representatives of international organisations, chemical industry associations, and the OPCW’s Advisory Board on Education and Outreach.
The OPCW’s Director for International Cooperation and Assistance, Mr Hamza Khelif, underlined the remarkable achievements of National Authorities in the region in ensuring the robust and credible implementation of the Convention to date, and encouraged them to continue their good work.
The regional meeting of National Authorities is an opportunity for National Authorities to exchange experiences and best practices at a regional level and was attended by representatives from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.
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.