THE HAGUE, Netherlands–16 February 2021–The Government of Malta has contributed €10,000 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 Malta to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Mark Anthony Pace, and OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, which was held yesterday at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.
Ambassador Pace stated: “As a firm proponent of multilateralism, Malta believes that Member States should endeavour to fully support the OPCW in the implementation of its mandate. Our contribution to the new ChemTech Centre is a clear sign of the commitment to ensuring the Organisation is provided with the necessary capabilities to address future challenges in an ever-changing and complex world.”
The Director-General expressed his gratitude to the Government of Malta and noted: “This contribution is more than welcome. It attests to Malta’s support for our shared mission of consigning chemical weapons to history. The new ChemTech Centre exemplifies the role of science and technology in promoting global peace and security and demonstrates how much can be achieved if Member States work in common purpose.”
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, 46 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, Malta, 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.