THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 18 October 2019 —Parliamentarians met to exchange views on how national parliaments can enhance national implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) during the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held from 13 to 17 October in Belgrade, Serbia.
During a roundtable side event, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia, Mr Vladimir Marinkovic, opened the discussion by highlighting the need for comprehensive implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. He said: “Full and effective implementation of the Convention is a pre-condition for preventing terrorist access to toxic chemicals that can be developed into chemical weapons.” Mr Marinkovic further noted the important contribution that national implementation of the Convention plays in strengthening international security: “Parliaments and parliamentarians not only play a critical role in the adoption of legislation implementing national obligations under the CWC, but also in the promotion of compliance with its provisions.”
Delegates from OPCW Member States participating in the IPU Assembly then shared experiences in implementing the Convention domestically. For instance, Member of Parliament of Bangladesh, Mr Abdus Salam Murshedy, emphasised that parliamentarians can contribute to enhancing national implementation of the CWC in various ways: “Parliaments can strengthen the CWC regime by enacting comprehensive implementing legislation, appropriating budgets to government agencies involved in its implementation, and sharing best practices in national implementation.”
Member of the House of Representatives of Malaysia, Mr Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, called on parliamentarians to enact laws addressing weapons of mass destruction. He said that the incident involving chemical weapons at the Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017 highlighted the clear and imminent threat of attacks involving non-State actors. He emphasised, “National legislation on the CWC serves as a security measure. In the bigger picture, parliaments can play a role by adopting the necessary implementing legislation to address this threat”.
Member of the Parliament of Australia, Mr Andrew Wallace, highlighted his country’s deep concern over the recent cases of chemical weapons use, and shared how it played an active role in strengthening the CWC regime for it to serve as an effective tool against the re-emergence of chemical weapons.
The roundtable discussion at the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union was attended by 15 representatives from the delegations from Australia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Serbia, and was organised by the OPCW Technical Secretariat.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union is an organisation of parliaments and comprises 178 member national parliaments and 12 regional parliamentary bodies.
The 141st Assembly of the IPU had over 1500 participants from 150 countries, including 80 Speakers of Parliament and more than 700 Members of Parliament. Under the theme of strengthening international law, the Assembly considered ways parliaments can promote sustainable development, support human rights, and achieve universal health coverage. The IPU Assembly takes place twice a year.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 193 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 97 per cent 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 Prize for Peace.