THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 30 August 2019 —H.E. the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, visited today the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague and met with OPCW’s Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias.
The Director-General and the Governor General discussed progress in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and the Organisation’s activities to address current challenges in achieving the total and permanent elimination of all chemical weapons, while promoting scientific advances for peaceful purposes.
The meeting focused on OPCW activities in Syria, including the efforts to investigate and identify perpetrators of chemical weapon attacks. The Director-General further provided an update on the project to upgrade the current OPCW Laboratory into a Centre for Chemistry and Technology. The Government of Canada has generously supported this crucial initiative to improve the OPCW’s capabilities.
The Director-General remarked: “Canada has made significant contributions to disarmament around the world. We look forward to our continued cooperation to ensure chemical weapons are eliminated and that chemicals are used for exclusively peaceful purposes.”
The Governor General was accompanied by the Permanent Representative of Canada to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Sabine Nölke, and other members of the delegation.
Canada joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997 and has been an active member of the OPCW ever since.
The Government of Canada has contributed C$ 7.5 million towards the new OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology for increased verification research and capacity-building activities. Canada has also provided more than C$23 million in voluntary funds for Syria-related activities, including stockpile destruction, the work of the Declaration Assessment Team, the Fact-Finding Mission, and the Investigation and Identification Team.
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.