THE HAGUE, Netherlands–24 September 2021–The Kingdom of Norway has contributed €24,800 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 through an exchange of letters.
The Permanent Representative of Norway to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Bård Ivar Svendsen, stated: “Norway is proud to contribute to the construction of the new OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology. Our total contribution of €24,800 demonstrates a clear and consistent commitment to disarmament and our unwavering support for the OPCW’s crucial role as the chemical weapons watchdog of the world. The new Centre will vastly improve the OPCW laboratory capacity and enable the Organisation to respond to the concerning re-emergence of chemical weapons. It will also help the OPCW to further promote international cooperation in this important area. We look forward to the completion of this important project.”
The Director-General expressed: “I am grateful for Norway’s voluntary contribution to the ChemTech Centre project – a facility that will be a centrepiece for research, analysis and training for all Member States, equipped to address current and future challenges for the Chemical Weapons Convention. The project is progressing swiftly with construction anticipated to be completed by the end of next year.”
Director-General Arias additionally expressed his gratitude to the OPCW States Parties and other donors who supported the project. 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.
So far, 49 countries, the European Union, and four other donors have contributed or pledged to contribute financially to the ChemTech Centre project, and €33.65M has been raised to date.
States Parties are encouraged to continue participating in this important project. Further voluntary contributions will be used to finance equipment and activities related to International Cooperation and Assistance involving the ChemTech Centre.
The project to build the ChemTech Centre 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 started in June 2021 and is planned to be finished 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, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, 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.