THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 24 June 2019 — The Government of the Republic of Korea has contributed $150,000 to support a number of projects and activities of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The contribution was formalised today at the Organisation’s Headquarters in The Hague at a ceremony involving the OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and the Republic of Korea’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Yun-young Lee.
The Republic of Korea contributed $70,000 to a special OPCW Trust Fund to support the project to upgrade the current OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store. This project will result in the construction of a new facility, which 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.
In addition, $80,000 will augment the OPCW’s Trust Fund for Regional Seminars to help run eight workshops on the peaceful development and use of chemistry for OPCW Member States in the Asian region, to be held in Seoul in 2019.
Director-General Arias stated: “The Government of the Republic of Korea has my sincere thanks for its contributions. This funding will help bolster the OPCW’s ability to respond to new and emerging chemical weapons threats around the world, and support the peaceful use of chemistry in Asia.”
Ambassador Lee, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Korea, announced the decision to contribute $150,000 to support OPCW activities and remarked: “Faced by newly emerging threats, the OPCW needs to adapt itself to the rapid advancement of science and technology, and upgrading the current laboratory is instrumental in achieving this goal. The Republic of Korea was the first State Party to make financial contributions to this important undertaking last year and is proud to contribute once again.
“Supporting the work of the OPCW in the fields of chemical safety and security has been a key policy priority of the Republic of Korea. We hope that the 8th Seoul Workshop this year will further contribute to raising awareness and building capacity of Asian Member States in these areas.“
The project to build the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology is on-going and seeks to strengthen the OPCW’s Science and Technology capabilities to fully address the real threat of chemical weapons, as well as to support capacity building in OPCW Member States. However, the current facility will soon no longer be fit-for-purpose due to its ageing infrastructure, space constraints, larger workloads, and new missions with new areas of work.
To date, the following States Parties have contributed or pledged to contribute to the project: Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. The European Union has also contributed.
The Republic of Korea has strongly supported the Seoul Workshop on the Peaceful Development and Use of Chemistry since 2012. The workshop aims to strengthen international cooperation programmes focusing on chemical industry outreach and industry-related aspects of the implementation of Article XI of the Convention covering support for economic and technological development of OPCW Member States. The workshop also promotes the peaceful use of chemistry related to the Convention, and to enhance the national capacities in the regional development, based on experiences of chemical technology and industrial development of the Republic of Korea.
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.