THE HAGUE, the Netherlands – 11 June 2019 – The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, spoke at a conference on global security and visited a specialised Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) training centre during a trip to Slovakia, from 6-7 June.
The Director-General addressed the audience of the 2019 Bratislava Forum, the annual conference of GLOBSEC, a think tank committed to enhancing global security, prosperity and sustainability throughout the world. The event brought together experts, academics and policy-makers to generate new ideas and solutions to pressing security problems.
Speaking at a panel on emerging threats, the Director-General reflected on the history of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), adding that despite the OPCW’s progress toward eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction, an evolving security landscape means that the Organisation is still confronting “an array of challenges”.
He expressed: “Recent violations of the prohibition against chemical weapons and the appearance of significant challenges are indicative of changes in global security. Change, however, requires us to reinforce and adapt our existing tools.
“The OPCW is focused on making certain that the Convention is comprehensively implemented in an evolving threat environment. To respond to these challenges, we will need to operate on multiple fronts, which will necessitate a holistic approach to our activities, heightened vigilance, and enhanced preparedness. Accordingly, dialogue and cooperation, among the Organisation’s Member States is now required more than ever.”
In Bratislava, the Director General held separate meetings with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic František Ružička, and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy, Mr Ratislav Chovanic.
The Director-General further travelled to Zemianske Kostoľany to visit the CBRN Training and Testing Centre – a specialised facility that allows first responders to enhance preparedness for dealing with emergencies involving chemical weapons and toxic chemical substances.
During an award ceremony, the Director-General handed out certificates to OPCW inspectors who had completed a Live Agent Training Course for Experts. The event was followed by a briefing and tour of the facility.
Slovakia joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1995 and has been an active member of the OPCW ever since.
GLOBSEC is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organisation with the goal to shape the global debate through conducting research activities and connecting key experts on foreign and security policy. The annual GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum, now in its fourteenth year, is one of the leading conferences on global security in the world.
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.