THE HAGUE, Netherlands–4 June 2021–Representatives of National Authorities from 20 Eastern European Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) exchanged views on recent actions, best practice, and future needs and priorities relating to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) during their 20th regional meeting, held online on 2 and 3 June.
The Head of the OPCW’s Implementation Support Branch, Ms Beatrix Lahoupe remarked: “While there is steady progress in the implementation of the Convention, more remains to be done to achieve a world free of chemical weapons, prevent re-emergence of those weapons, and counter the threat posed by non-State actors. Close cooperation among national and regional CWC stakeholders is an important enabler of collective efforts to address these serious challenges.”
The meeting provided an opportunity for National Authorities to share views on electronic tools facilitating declaration obligations under Article VI of the Convention – ‘Activities not prohibited under this Convention’. The topic was of particular interest to the attendees in view of the region’s advanced chemical industry and trade sector. Other subjects included chemical safety and security and the role of women in their management, and the use of the Protection and Assistance Databank – a tool that facilitates declarations under Article X of the CWC, Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons, and contains freely available information concerning means of protection against those weapons. The participants also learned about the status of the project to construct the new OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology.
Inspector in the State Office for Nuclear Safety representing the Czech National Authority, Mr Tomáš Strnad, noted: “One of my main tasks is the improvement and integration of new flexible tools for CWC implementation. I welcome the opportunity to learn about the latest developments in this area and exchange experiences with my colleagues from other National Authorities. The agenda reflected our current needs and priorities well. Direct and personal interaction is critical when discussing technical details and problems.”
Twenty-six representatives of the following 20 Member States attended the event: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.
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.