OPCW initiates construction of new ChemTech Centre – a major step forward in implementing global ban on chemical weapons

The Director-General of the OPCW led a ‘First Pillar Ceremony’ to mark the start of construction of upgraded laboratory, training and equipment facilities

23 September 2021
OPCW initiates construction of new ChemTech Centre – a major step forward in implementing global ban on chemical weapons

THE HAGUE, Netherlands23 September 2021The Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, hosted a First Pillar ceremony marking the start of the construction of the new OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (“ChemTech Centre”) in Pijnacker-Nootdorp, outside The Hague.

During the ceremony, the first pillar of the Centre was secured in place by the Director-General, the Deputy Director-General, H.E. Ms Odette Melono, Chairperson of construction company Dura Vermeer, Mr Job Dura and the Managing Partner of Ector Hoogstad Architects, Mr Joost Ector. This symbolically initiated the construction of the new complex.

In his statement, the Director-General discussed the notable milestones of the ChemTech Centre project which were made possible by the contributions from the OPCW Member States, a Signatory State, European Union, and several private donors. The Director-General expressed: “The ChemTech Centre will strengthen the OPCW’s capabilities to tackle new and emerging chemical weapons threats, as well as to support capacity building for OPCW Member States”.

Mr Job Dura stated: “Dura Vermeer is proud to contribute to the realisation of the ChemTech Centre, a new, safe and high-quality facility for the OPCW. The mission of the OPCW is to rid the world of chemical weapons. We are developing a building with specific functionalities that contributes to this ambition.”

Mr Joost Ector underlined: “Over the past 18 months, we have been working closely together with the OPCW to envision their new ChemTech Centre and we are proud of the resulting design. The new building is designed to optimally support the Organisation’s work processes. It will be a friendly and hospitable environment in which OPCW can receive their visitors and trainees to fully involve them in their important mission and worldwide projects. We look forward to seeing our design become a reality.”

The Mayor of Pijnacker-Nootdorp, Hon. Ms Francisca Ravestein, the Chairperson of the Conference of the States Parties, H.E. Mr José Antonio Zabalgoitia Trejo, and the Chairperson of the Executive Council, H.E. Mr Abdelouahab Bellouki, also delivered remarks to mark the important milestone of the project. The event, conducted with appropriate COVID-related health and safety measures in place, assembled representatives of OPCW Member States, other contributors, local officials and other stakeholders.

The ChemTech Centre is an important upgrade to the OPCW for discharging its mandates and supporting its Member States in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention. It will bring together the OPCW Laboratory, Equipment Store, and a range of state-of-the-art training facilities for enhanced research, analysis, and capacity building. The Centre will also serve as a knowledge repository to tackle chemical threats worldwide as well as a platform to promote expert dialogue, exchange, and collaboration. In addition, a new logistics centre and training facilities will significantly enhance the professional development of OPCW inspectors, mission preparations, and support deployments.

Background

The ChemTech Centre will be located on a 6,400m2 plot within the Heron Business Park in Pijnacker-Nootdorp, outside The Hague. Construction is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2022.

Dura Vermeer, founded in 1855, is an independent family business focusing on the Dutch market with activities in residential construction, non-residential construction, and infrastructure. With over € 1.5 billion in turnover and more than 2,800 employees, Dura Vermeer is one of the largest companies in the Dutch construction industry.

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.

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