THE HAGUE, Netherlands–30 November 2021–H.E. Mr Fernando Arias was re-appointed today as the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The decision was made at the 26th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention for Director-General Arias to lead the Organisation for a second term of office.
Director-General Arias expressed his gratitude to States Parties and noted: “the task you have entrusted me with for the coming years is a contract with the international community, which I accept to its full extent despite the difficulties we face.”
Director-General Arias’ second term will begin on 25 July 2022 and end on 24 July 2026.
H.E. Mr Fernando Arias has served as OPCW Director-General since 25 July 2018. Prior to his appointment as OPCW Director-General, he served as the Ambassador of Spain to the Netherlands, as well as Permanent Representative of Spain to the OPCW.
Ambassador Arias has been a career diplomat since 1979 and has extensive multilateral experience with issues regarding weapons of mass destruction as well as bilateral experience in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, North America, and South America. In the past decade, he has represented Spain at international organisations including the OPCW. He also served as Vice-President of the OPCW Executive Council. At the United Nations in New York, he was Spain’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative. While at the UN, he also served as Vice-President of the 68th Session of the General Assembly and Vice President of the ECOSOC.
Previously, Ambassador Arias represented Spain as Deputy Chief of Mission in the People’s Republic of China. He was also Ambassador to Bulgaria, Ambassador to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (now North Macedonia), Director (Director General) of the Protocol Department of the Presidency of the Government, Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and Ambassador to the Republic of Mali. In addition to various posts held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, he was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassies of Spain in the Republic of Argentina, the United Mexican States, and the Republic of Romania. He began his diplomatic career as Secretary and Cultural Counsellor at the Embassy of Spain to the Netherlands.
The Conference of the States Parties meets annually to assess the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and to make key decisions regarding the future work of the Organisation. The Conference of the States Parties oversees the continued implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the promotion of the treaty’s objectives and reviews international compliance with the treaty.
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.