THE HAGUE, Netherlands—28 March 2022—The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) held its thirty-fourth session from 15 to 17 March. The SAB provides advice on science and technology issues relevant to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
At its first meeting this year, the Board welcomed six new members: Professor Elisa Souza Orth of Brazil, Professor Ines Primožič of Croatia, Dr Matteo Guidotti of Italy, Mr Raza Ellahi of Pakistan, Dr Crister Åstot of Sweden, and Dr Robert Kristovich of the United States of America.
Opening the online meeting, OPCW Deputy Director-General, H.E. Mrs Odette Melono, congratulated the new members on their appointment and acknowledged the Board’s professionalism and dedication over the challenging past two years. Recalling the upcoming Fifth Review Conference, which will take place in The Hague in May 2023, the Deputy Director-General stressed the importance of preparing the SAB’s Scientific Report well ahead of the Conference, “so that States Parties can fully profit from having an independent analysis of science and technology trends of relevance to the Convention”.
The three-day session included preparations for scientific review and advice to the Fifth Review Conference, and discussions on possible scientific activities at the future OPCW ChemTech Centre. SAB members also discussed upcoming topical workshops including one in partnership with chemical industry and another on artificial intelligence in chemistry, in partnership with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Presentations from SAB members and guest experts provided insights into developments related to the chemical attribution of chemical warfare agents, innovative methods for detection and identification of pesticides, as well as the proliferation risks of additive manufacturing and other emerging technologies. Additionally, the SAB received updates on activities from the Technical Secretariat’s Inspectorate Division.
The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is comprised of 25 independent experts from OPCW Member States. It advises the Director-General on science and technology issues relevant to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Every five years, the SAB also prepares a larger report on developments in science and technology for submission to Review Conferences of the Convention.
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 99% 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