THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 18 April 2019 — The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has contributed £1.1M to support a number of major projects and activities of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Peter Wilson, formalised the donation yesterday at a ceremony held at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.
Ambassador Wilson, on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom, announced the contribution and remarked: “I am delighted to finalise with the Director-General, the details of our £1.1m funding contribution to support the work of the OPCW. Last June, states came together and took a historic decision to strengthen the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. This includes taking action to investigate and attribute responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria as well as enhancing assistance programmes. The UK’s £1.1m donation will help deliver on those commitments.”
Director-General Arias expressed: “I am grateful to the UK government for this significant and timely contribution. These resources will help enhance the OPCW’s ability to address comprehensively the threat of chemical weapons, bolster the work of the Organisation’s teams, and advance the capacity of governments to fully implement the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
The largest part of the contribution, totalling £516,000, will support the construction of a new facility, the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology – an upgrade to the current OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store. The new Centre will meet the demands of OPCW States Parties for enhanced verification tools, improved detection capabilities and response measures, as well as increased capacity-building activities.
The Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) will receive £206,000 to acquire equipment, access specialised reports and data, secure translation and interpretation, and ensure the fulfilment of other essential tasks.
In addition, with a contribution of £200,000, the UK will continue its support to countries in Africa focused on strengthening their capabilities in the area of assistance and protection against chemical weapons, as stipulated under Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). A variety of initiatives in the countries of the East African Community and the Economic Community of West African States will allow for conducting risk analysis and audits of national capabilities; building response capacities; and creating the conditions for annual submissions as required by the CWC.
The UK has also earmarked £178,000 for a project assessing and enhancing capacity of analytical laboratories in OPCW Member States across Africa as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. This initiative is an important contribution to the enhancement of the laboratory capabilities of OPCW Member States with developing or transition economies, within the framework of implementation of Article XI of the Convention.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Members, 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% 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 Peace Prize.