THE HAGUE, Netherlands–3 February 2021–The Government of Cyprus has contributed a further €20,000 to a special Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Trust Fund to support the construction of a new facility, the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (“ChemTech Centre”).
The contribution was formalised during a ceremony between the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Frances-Galatia Lanitou, and OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, which was held today at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.
Ambassador Lanitou stated: “The Republic of Cyprus is a strong supporter of the OPCW. The Organisation has a very important mandate and carries out its work with a view to achieving a world free of chemical weapons. We are delighted to renew our contribution to the new project of the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology. The new facility will further strengthen the capabilities of the OPCW, including its investigative and capacity building capabilities, so that the OPCW may continue to fulfil its important role and to fully and successfully address any new or emerging chemical weapon threats.”
The Director-General noted: “Thanks to the Government of Cyprus’ contribution, we are closer today to the creation of a new OPCW facility that will allow us to confidently face the challenges of an increasingly complex global security landscape.”
Director-General Arias appealed to all OPCW States Parties 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 to the benefit of all 193 OPCW Member States. He highlighted that “all contributions, regardless of size, are greatly appreciated”.
So far, 45 countries, the European Union, and four other donors 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. Construction of the ChemTech Centre is scheduled to begin in 2021 and the building is currently planned to be operational by the end of 2022.
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, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, 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, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. The European Union, Israel (a signatory state) and other donors have 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.