THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 4 July 2019 — The Government of Kazakhstan has contributed €10,000 to a special Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (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, the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (“ChemTech Centre”).
The contribution was formalised yesterday in a ceremony involving the exchange of letters between OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and the Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Magzhan Ilyassov, at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.
Ambassador Ilyassov remarked: “Kazakhstan has always been and remains a strong supporter of the CWC and the OPCW. Contributing to the new Centre for Chemistry and Technology is an important way to strengthen the OPCW’s capacity in developing even more confidence in the verification regime. The Centre is a common endeavor that will further unite OPCW Member States in achieving a world free of chemical weapons.”
Director-General Arias expressed his gratitude to the Government of Kazakhstan for its support and appealed to all OPCW Member States in a position to make voluntary contributions to do so, emphasising that the new ChemTech Centre will be a resource for all Member States and that “all contributions, regardless of size, are greatly appreciated”.
So far, sixteen Member States and the European Union have contributed or pledged to contribute financially to the project, and a considerable amount has been raised to date.
The project to build the ChemTech Centre is on-going and seeks to strengthen the OPCW’s capabilities to fully address new and emerging chemical weapons threats, as well as to support capacity building in OPCW Member States. The current OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store are central to the effectiveness and integrity of the verification regime of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and they also contribute to the OPCW’s capacity-building and international cooperation activities. 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.
A new facility is required to meet the demands of OPCW Member States for enhanced verification tools, improved detection capabilities and response measures, as well as increased capacity-building activities. The ChemTech Centre will also help the OPCW to keep pace with developments in science and technology and new chemical weapons threats. The OPCW Technical Secretariat is developing a detailed project plan for the construction of the ChemTech Centre, and a Trust Fund for voluntary contributions has been established to secure the required resources for the project.
To date, the following Member States have contributed or pledged to contribute to the project: Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, France, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, 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.
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% percent 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.