THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 5 September 2017 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, delivered yesterday the keynote address at the opening of the Asser Institute’s Eighth Annual Summer Programme on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), which is jointly organised with the OPCW and takes place in The Hague, the Netherlands.
With the OPCW commemorating its twentieth anniversary in 2017, the Director-General underscored in his remarks the resilience of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and how it “remains the foundation of the international community’s commitment to eliminate the scourge of chemical weapons”. He described how today’s complex threats require, more than ever before, a unified response and called upon, “professionals in the field of WMD to approach the challenges of the non-proliferation and disarmament agenda with a more integrated understanding across a wide range of interconnected issues”.
Ambassador Üzümcü further expressed his hope that the Summer Programme will provide a platform for the “keen minds from all around the world” to delve into and reflect on these issues: “In the coming days, I invite you to think imaginatively about how to holistically address WMD challenges.”
The Asser Institute’s WMD disarmament and non-proliferation training course, taking place from 4-8 September, will provide clear insights for mid-career professionals into the legal, scientific, diplomatic and geo-political issues relating to the chemical and other WMDs in a contemporary world.
The T.M.C Asser Institute and the OPCW launched the Summer Programme on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of WMD in 2010. The intensive week-long course features an interactive forum for participants to acquire knowledge about the diplomatic, legal and technical aspects of disarmament and non-proliferation across nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and threats; insight into the work of seasoned WMD professionals; and a unique network that includes experts and other participants from diverse backgrounds. This year’s course will feature field visits to the OPCW Laboratory in Rijswijk and to the nuclear research reactor at the Delft University of Technology.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Ninety-five 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.