THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 19 October 2017 — The Deputy Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Mr. Hamid Ali Rao, highlighted chemical safety and security as one of the priority areas for OPCW’s engagement during his official visit to Bangladesh from 17 to 18 October 2017.
While opening the International Seminar on Advanced Chemical Safety and Security Management on 18 October, which was hosted by the Government of Bangladesh, the Deputy Director-General observed that “the globalised nature of trade adds further avenues by which chemicals can be diverted to prohibited activities. Thus, the dangers associated with non-state actors are not the problem of just a single state or a single region – they are an international threat”.
Quoting the decision on addressing the threat posed by the use of chemical weapons by non-State actors, which was adopted by consensus at the Executive Council last week, the Deputy Director-General further described the threat of chemical terrorism as no longer a potential concern, but a reality, and national authorities, industry, academic institutions and civil society organisations will have to work ever closer together to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons and promote the peaceful uses of chemistry.
Later in the afternoon the Deputy Director-General delivered a lecture titled “Working together for a Chemical Weapon Free World” at the University of Dhaka. After illustrating the achievements in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) that this year marked 20 years of its entry into force, the Deputy Director-General explained how science can help implementation of in the Convention and shared information on various on-going activities from capacity building and training to the Hague Ethical Guidelines. “At the very heart of the OPCW’s work is science and promoting its peaceful use,” he stated, and asked the audience “as the future chemical engineers, toxicologists, and scientific researchers, to bear the real weight of ensuring that chemistry is never again used to wage war”.
During his visit to Dhaka, the Deputy Director-General had a bilateral meeting with the Chairman of the Bangladesh National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention, Lieutenant General Md. Mahfuzur Rahman, and with professionals from the Bangladesh Chemical Society led by the Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, who is also Managing Director of the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation.
Bangladesh was one of the first signatories of the Chemical Weapons Convention when it opened for signature in January 1993. It became a State Party to the Convention in 1997 and has been an active contributor to the work of the OPCW. The Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the Netherlands, Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal, is the current chairperson of the Executive Council of the OPCW.
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.
Over 96 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.