THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 18 June 2019 — National Authorities from Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) discussed ways to strengthen regional cooperation and enhance inter-agency coordination in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) during the 20th Regional Meeting of States Parties from GRULAC held in Mexico City, Mexico, from 4 – 6 June.
In his opening remarks, Director General of the United Nations Division of the Ministry of External Relations of Mexico, Dr Eduardo Jaramillo Navarrete, highlighted the importance of effective national implementation of the Convention, adding that that the meeting provided an opportunity to explore ways to facilitate bilateral and regional cooperation on issues relating to the CWC.
The participants exchanged views on issues relating to the verification system under the CWC, including a new tool for making online submissions on annual declarations. They also shared best practices in national coordination mechanisms in collecting information for the timely submission of annual declarations. The group further stressed the importance of adopting national implementing legislation to effectively regulate toxic chemicals and respond to the threats posed by their potential misuse.
The OPCW Technical Secretariat gave an overview of the national implementation issues facing OPCW Member States, and the capacity building programs aimed at enhancing national implementation of the Convention. The participants highlighted the important role of OPCW training to personnel from National Authorities.
The annual regional meeting was attended by representatives of the following 23 OPCW Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, 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 97% 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.