THE HAGUE, Netherlands—22 April 2022—The Undersecretary of Defence of the Italian Republic, Senator Stefania Pucciarelli, met today with the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.
The Director-General briefed the Undersecretary on the Organisation’s efforts to strengthen assistance and protection preparedness, prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons, and support the use of chemistry for the technological and economic development of Member States. The Director-General also provided an update on the construction progress of the future OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (“ChemTech Centre”), which will inter alia enhance the Organisation’s capability to provide capacity building for Member States.
Undersecretary Pucciarelli stated: “I thank all the OPCW staff for their competent and continuous work in preventing the re-emergence of the malevolent use of chemical substances. I would also underline how necessary the effort of the international community is in increasing the correct use of chemicals for peaceful goals in support of the whole humanity. Increasing international cooperation and the exchange of scientific and technical information in the field of chemical activities for purposes allowed by the Convention works to improve the economic and technological development of all OPCW Member States.”
The Director-General remarked: “Italy has demonstrated a robust commitment in upholding the global norm against chemical weapons. Together, we will continue to work for the full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
Italy has been an active member of the OPCW since 1997.
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.
Italy has provided €150,000 in voluntary contributions for the construction of the ChemTech Centre.
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.