THE HAGUE, Netherlands–7 September 2021–The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and Coordinator of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Coalition of civil society organisations, Dr Paul Walker, today discussed NGO involvement in mobilising popular support for the international chemical weapons ban.
The Director General and Dr Walker reviewed the latest civil society initiatives in support of the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. They discussed NGO participation in the upcoming 26th Session of the Conference of the State Parties, particularly in view of the constraints imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Walker expressed: “Civil society most welcomes the ongoing support of Director-General Arias and the OPCW Technical Secretariat while striving to build a world free of chemical weapons. The CWC Coalition continues to work with the OPCW and States Parties to help complete the safe destruction of declared chemical weapon stockpiles, to universalise the Convention, to establish full national implementation, and to prevent any use of banned toxic chemicals.”
The Director General underlined: “Civil society has championed the Convention since its entry into force in 1997. As a coordinating body for a global network of civil society organisations, the CWC Coalition plays a prominent role in facilitating wide-reaching NGO engagement with the OPCW, including through the Conference of the States Parties. I remain committed to strengthening engagement with civil society to leverage their expertise as we address current and emerging challenges to the implementation of the OPCW’s mandate.”
Dr Paul Walker is the Vice Chair of the Arms Control Association’s Board of Directors in Washington DC, an International Director at Green Cross International, and a Senior Visiting Fellow of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Germany.
In 2009, Dr Walker became one of the founders of the Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition, an independent international civil society network whose mission is to support the aims of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Coalition has been instrumental in facilitating civil society participation in OPCW’s annual Conferences of the States Parties, leading to consistently rising numbers of attending NGOs, as well as civil society events and exhibits.
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.