THE HAGUE, Netherlands–2 December 2021–The International Centre for Chemical Safety and Security (ICCSS) has contributed €5,000 to a special Trust Fund of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to support the construction and operation of a new facility, the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (“ChemTech Centre”), currently being built outside The Hague.
The contributions were formalised yesterday during a ceremony between the President of the Board of the ICCSS, H.E. Ambassador Krzysztof Paturej, and the Director-General of the OPCW, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias.
Ambassador Paturej stated: “The International Centre for Chemical Safety and Security actively participates in and supports the work of the OPCW and National Authorities with modern approaches and solutions to implement chemical safety and security and industrial cybersecurity. This ICCSS contribution is a concrete confirmation of our strong conviction that the OPCW ChemTech Centre will be a flagship for all OPCW stakeholders – including civil society, industry and academia – to enhance OPCW’s standing as the global leader in efforts to rid the world of chemical weapons and reduce chemical weapons threats.”
The Director-General expressed: “I am deeply grateful to ICCSS for supporting the ChemTech Centre project which is critical for OPCW’s position as an international leader in the application of science and technology for chemical disarmament. The community of non-governmental organisations are essential partners in achieving the OPCW’s mission of a world permanently free of chemical weapons.”
Director-General Arias additionally expressed his gratitude to the OPCW Member States and other donors who supported the project and encouraged continued participation in this important initiative. He further emphasised the role the new ChemTech Centre will play in strengthening the OPCW’s ability to address chemical weapon threats and enhance capacity building activities to the benefit of all 193 OPCW Member States.
The ChemTech Centre Trust Fund remains open for further contributions. Additional funds will provide extra assurances for the successful completion of the project and for the international cooperation projects to be carried out at the Centre once the building is operational.
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, €33.7M 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, India, 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, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, 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.
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.