THE HAGUE, Netherlands–15 November 2021–The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, on 12 November updated non-resident Permanent Representatives to the OPCW on issues significant to the preparations to the upcoming Twenty-Sixth Session of the Conference of the States Parties (CSP-26).
During the online event, the Director-General described major developments in the Organisation’s work during 2021 and main issues to be discussed at CSP-26 starting on 29 November in The Hague.
The Director-General highlighted progress in the elimination of declared chemical weapons, chemical industry inspections, capacity building and international cooperation to promote the use of chemistry for peaceful purposes, OPCW’s programme and budget for 2022 and 2023, and the construction of the new Centre for Chemistry and Technology.
He also pointed to challenges: “It is a disturbing reality that chemical weapons continue to be used, which we have witnessed in Malaysia, Iraq, Syria, the United Kingdom, and now the Russian Federation.” The Director-General briefed the delegates on the steps taken by the OPCW Secretariat in these cases.
Director-General Arias underlined that the Organisation remains agile and capable of meeting these and other challenges: “As we near the completion of the destruction of declared chemical weapons, the OPCW continues to adapt and evolve to meet States Parties’ needs, and to the changing security landscape.”
The Director-General expressed his appreciation of the Member States’ strong support for the Chemical Weapons Convention and the work of the Technical Secretariat.
The Chairperson of the Executive Council and Permanent Representative of Morocco, H.E. Ambassador Abdelouahab Bellouki, presented the activities of OPCW’s Executive Council, while additional briefings were provided by OPCW’s Director of International Cooperation and Assistance, Coordinator of the OPCW Africa Programme, and Consultant to the Centre for Chemistry and Technology Project team.
Participants, who comprised 76 representatives of 43 Member States (including 21 Permanent Representatives to the OPCW), shared their views and concerns during the question-and-answer session.
The Conference of the States Parties is the principal organ of the OPCW and consists of representatives from each of the Organisation’s 193 Member States. It meets annually to assess the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and to make key decisions regarding the future work of the Organisation.
The Conference of the States Parties oversees the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, promotes the treaty’s objectives and reviews compliance with the treaty. The CSP meets annually in The Hague.
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.