THE HAGUE, Netherlands–28 October 2021–The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has made a voluntary contribution of £750,000 to support various activities at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Of the £750,000, the Trust Fund for Security and Business Continuity receives £500,000, which will assist the OPCW in ensuring that users and systems are well protected against current and future cybersecurity threats.
A further £150,000 supports a training project in which laboratories from Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) build their capabilities to pass the stringent examination procedure required to achieve OPCW designated laboratory status.
£100,000 is dedicated to strengthening the work of the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), in charge of identifying those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic.
The £750,000 contribution was formalised during recent ceremonies in The Hague between the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Joanna Roper CMG, and OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias.
Ambassador Roper remarked: “The OPCW plays a vital role in upholding global security. The United Kingdom is proud to make a further voluntary contribution towards the Organisation’s mission of a world free of chemical weapons. I am delighted that the UK contribution will help to enhance cyber security, broaden the geographical scope of OPCW-designated laboratories and strengthen the IIT’s important work on Syria.”
The Director-General stated: “I am grateful for this substantial voluntary contribution from the United Kingdom. It will amplify the OPCW’s capacity to press ahead with several of our priority projects and initiatives. The fulfilment of our mission to permanently eradicate chemical weapons and prevent their re-emergence requires not just determination, but adequate resources. Contributions like this will help prepare the organisation for future challenges.”
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997. The United Kingdom is a member of the Executive Council, the OPCW’s executive organ, which is charged with promoting the effective implementation of and compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as supervising the activities of the Organisation’s Technical Secretariat.
Voluntary contributions are made in addition to Member States’ annual payments to fund the Organisation – the ‘assessed contributions’.
The Trust Fund for Security and Business Continuity helps the OPCW to enhance its digital resilience to ensure that the Organisation’s people, operations, and information are protected effectively. To date, the trust fund has been utilised to improve the security assurance of all OPCW’s networks and systems and enhance the business continuity preparedness of the organisation.
The OPCW’s Designated Laboratories network is a linchpin of the Organisation’s verification regime and its capacity to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons. In 2019, OPCW launched the project ‘Assessing and Enhancing the Capacity of Analytical Laboratories from African and GRULAC Member States to Achieve OPCW Designation’, supported by the voluntary contribution of the United Kingdom. The project includes a variety of training components that assist the candidate laboratories in preparing for the OPCW examination and joining the OPCW Designated Laboratory network.
The OPCW Technical Secretariat established the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) as mandated by the decision of the Conference of the States Parties titled: Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use (C-SS-4/DEC.3), issued in June 2018. The IIT identifies and reports on all information potentially relevant to the origin of chemical weapons in the instances in which the OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) determines or has determined that use or likely use occurred, and cases in which the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) has not issued a report. The IIT has so far issued two reports on four different chemical weapons use incidents.
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.