THE HAGUE, Netherlands—6 October 2021—The Government of Andorra has contributed a further €6,000 to the voluntary trust fund in support of the International Support Network for Victims of Chemical Weapons as well as a further €5,000 to a special trust fund of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to support the construction of a new facility, the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (“ChemTech Centre”).
The contributions were formalised yesterday during a ceremony between the Permanent Representative of Andorra to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Esther Rabasa Grau, and OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias.
Ambassador Grau stated: “In 2021, Andorra decided to make an additional contribution of €5,000 to the ChemTech Centre. With a total contribution of €16,000 spread over three years, Andorra wishes to show its commitment to the project and ensure the operationality of the Centre from the very beginning. Andorra also continues to support the essential work of the International Support Network for Victims of Chemical Weapons.”
The Director-General expressed: “I am grateful for the Government of Andorra’s contribution which will help ensure that support for victims remains a core part of the OPCW’s work. Our collective ability to deal with the threat of chemical weapons attacks, address future challenges, and prevent others from falling victim to these abhorrent weapons will be enhanced though the activities to be led at the ChemTech Centre.”
Director-General Arias encouraged Member States to continue supporting OPCW’s priority activities including the ChemTech Centre project.
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, €33.65M has been raised and 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.
In 2011, the Conference of the States Parties established the International Support Network for Victims of Chemical Weapons and a voluntary trust fund for this purpose. The OPCW Member States Parties can support the Network by providing medical treatment to victims of chemical weapons in their countries; organising events to raise awareness at the national level on victims of chemical weapons; exchanging information on experiences related to treatment of victims of chemical weapons, through e.g. providing research scholarships to the developing States Parties in the field of the treatment of victims of chemical weapons; and facilitating materials- and equipment-related assistance to States Parties to assist and support the victims of chemical weapons.
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.