THE HAGUE, Netherlands —23 July 2018— National Authorities and customs administrations from Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) discussed new approaches to strengthening coordination in implementing the transfer regime of scheduled chemicals, during the 19th Regional Meeting of States Parties, held in Guatemala City, Guatemala from 9 to 11 July.
In his opening remarks, Vice-Minister for External Relations of Guatemala, Mr Estuardo Roldan Barillas, cautioned that the growing risk of the misuse of chemicals by non-State actors poses a serious threat to international peace and security. Minister Barillas addressed the importance of national implementing legislation in addressing this threat.
The participants exchanged views on the challenges for an effective control of scheduled chemicals and shared best practices, including regular training of customs personnel, reporting procedures between customs and National Authorities, and licensing protocols for traders.
OPCW’s Technical Secretariat provided an overview of its customs-related capacity building programmes and other activities aimed at assisting State Parties in enhancing national implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The participants stressed the importance of the OPCW’s role in providing training to personnel from National Authorities and customs administrations to overcome the challenge of frequent staff turnover.
The annual regional meeting was attended by representatives of 22 OPCW Member States, including: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. A representative of the Caribbean Community also participated in the meeting.
States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention have the obligation to establish an effective control regime on scheduled chemicals, which involves monitoring transfers between States Parties and restrictions on trade with non-States Parties. All transfers of scheduled chemicals must be declared to the OPCW Technical Secretariat.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, 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.