THE HAGUE, Netherlands–30 September 2020–The Government of Greece has contributed €30,000 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 on 28 September during a ceremony between the Permanent Representative of Greece to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Nicolas P. Plexidas, and OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, which was held at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.
Ambassador Plexidas remarked: “Greece, a member of the OPCW since its establishment in 1997, has always been a staunch supporter of all efforts aiming to consolidate peace and stability in the world. In these challenging times, the threats posed by the use of chemical weapons are still present. Thus, the role of OPCW in dealing with the challenge of chemical weapons remains vital. We believe that international cooperation and effective multilateralism is the only way to ensure that chemicals will be used only for safe and peaceful purposes to the benefit of the people and with respect to the environment. Therefore, Greece decided to contribute €30,000 for the construction of a new Centre for Chemistry and Technology in OPCW, as a tangible proof of its sincere commitment to enhance all efforts for the mitigation of the use of chemical weapons. We are convinced that this Centre will contribute significantly to increase our capacities for making our world a safer place.”
The Director-General expressed his sincere appreciation for the Government of Greece’s support. He added: “The contribution demonstrates your country’s support for research and development of chemistry for peaceful purposes, which will further build the capabilities of our Member States to achieve a world free of chemical weapons. The continued commitment of OPCW Member States to this important project during these unprecedented times is especially meaningful.”
Director-General Arias appealed to all OPCW Member States in a position to make voluntary contributions to do so. He further emphasised the important role the new ChemTech Centre will play in strengthening the OPCW’s ability to address chemical weapon threats and enhance capacity building activities. He highlighted that “all contributions, regardless of size, are greatly appreciated”.
So far, 43 Member States, Israel – a signatory state – and the European Union have contributed or pledged to contribute financially to the ChemTech Centre 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: Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. The European Union, Israel have and other donors 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 98% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.