THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 3 August 2020 — Fifty representatives from twenty-four Member States from the Latin American and Caribbean region met online for the Twenty-first Regional Meeting of National Authorities organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The meeting focused on regional priorities, including the OPCW International Cooperation and Assistance Division’s integrated approach to capacity building, issues relating to Articles VI and VII of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the amendment to the Annex on Chemicals to the CWC, and the Electronic Declaration Information System (EDIS).
The Chief of the National Authority of Bolivia, Mr Marco Antonio Romay Taborga, highlighted in his opening remarks: “The deliberations and contributions of our representatives will constitute a milestone in terms of highlighting our common needs and interests, and we hope that our discussions serve to promote the different visions and approaches of our countries.”
The OPCW’s Director of the International Cooperation and Assistance Division, Ms Kayoko Gotoh, also expressed: “This meeting provides an opportunity for Latin American and Caribbean States Parties to discuss regional priorities in order to address the specific challenges facing countries in the region.”
Participants exchanged views on national implementation issues, including resolving transfer discrepancies, coordinating at the national level, submitting declarations online, and challenges in adopting legislation. Video presentations were provided by the OPCW Technical Secretariat ahead of the meeting to allow participants time to analyse the issues in depth before discussing them with regional colleagues.
Representatives of the following Member States participated: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The online regional meeting was the third of its kind, following the Nineteenth Regional Meeting of National Authorities of Eastern Europe, held on 28 July 2020, and the Eighteenth Regional Meeting of National Authorities of Asia, held on 29 July 2020.
Regional meetings of National Authorities of States Parties provide a forum in which the States Parties of the region can address various national implementation issues, capacity building programmes and activities organised by the Technical Secretariat and other issues related to the Convention. National Authorities also share good practices and challenges in acting as focal points for effective liaison with the OPCW for national implementation of the Convention.
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 98% 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.