THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 2 July 2019 — Fifty-two participants from 32 Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from Asia gathered in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, for the 17th Regional Meeting of National Authorities, from 25 – 27 June.
The Deputy Chairman of the National Authority of Mongolia, Brigadier General Ganzorig D., stressed in his opening remarks that the meeting was an opportunity for OPCW Member States to not only exchange experiences, but also to identify critical challenges to the Convention’s effective national implementation. He further encouraged a collaborative search for solutions.
The Senior Coordination and Planning Officer from the Implementation Support Branch of the OPCW, Ms Chizu Matsushita, noted that: “The Asia region bears an important national and international responsibility of ensuring that chemicals produced, sold and traded are used for peaceful purposes only.”
The meeting predominately focused on national implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Participants from the Member States with pending legislative measures spoke about the progress, challenges and prospects of reaching this goal.
The participants also explored efforts to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the OPCW verification system and discussed chemical risk assessment and management.
The meeting’s Outcome Report was formulated to serve as an aide-memoire of the discussions and recommended solutions. The participants also agreed to establish a system where Member States of the region work together under the facilitation of a regional coordinator in charge of monitoring CWC implementation in Asia.
Representatives of the following 32 OPCW Member States attended the annual meeting: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Unites Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan. Australia also attended the meeting as a continued supporter of national implementation efforts in Asia.
As of August 2018, out of 193 States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, 155 States Parties (80%) reported the adoption of national implementing legislation to the OPCW Technical Secretariat.
Out of 56 States Parties in Asia, 33 Member States (59%) have adopted legislation covering all initial measures. Nine Member States (16%) have adopted legislation that covers some of the initial measures, while 14 States Parties (25%) have yet to adopt implementing legislation.
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.