THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 16 November 2017 — More than 100 participants gathered for a conference on, “The Chemical Weapons Convention in 2017: What are the Boundaries to its Future Evolution?”, held at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Headquarters in The Hague on 16 November.
The Conference marked the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the founding of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The themes and issues were framed within the legal context
“Over the years, new challenges and legal questions have presented themselves which were not explicitly provided for in the treaty,” expressed the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, in his opening statement. According to the Director-General, the Convention has however, proven that “it is adaptable and flexible enough to develop new approaches to address unforeseen situations”.
The Chair of the Executive Council, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Belal, noted that, ‘’Although challenges have been present, the Convention represents a decisive seal of authority on the global prohibition of chemical weapons, and continues to be a relevant and effective guarantor against chemical threats”.
The one-day event was an opportunity for participants to reflect on the evolution of the Convention over the last twenty years. Panellists and the audience engaged in candid legal discussions on the progress made in Syria and Libya, as well as future challenges and opportunities ahead.
Other key topics of discussion included, preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons, and countering the threat of chemical terrorism.
The Conference recognised that having a forward-looking approach to the implementation of the Convention is imperative for achieving a world permanently free of chemical weapons. Moreover, the participants agreed that strengthening multilateral efforts to promote the Convention’s full implementation can address future challenges and advance the common goal of promoting international peace and security.
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.
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.