THE HAGUE, Netherlands—20 May 2022—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and other stakeholders gathered today to reflect on the Convention’s key achievements, future challenges and opportunities to strengthen the on-going global endeavour to rid the world of chemical weapons. The discussions took place during a seminar to commemorate the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which took place on 29 April 1997. The seminar was held at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, and organised with support from the Government of the Netherlands and the European Union.
Over the last 25 years, the CWC has become the most successful disarmament treaty to-date, covering 98% of the world’s population and responsible for the verified destruction of 99% of declared chemical weapons stockpiles. The OPCW, born when the CWC entered into force, has emerged as a leading global, treaty-based international organisation with responsibilities for disarmament and non-proliferation, among others. It also maintains impartial mechanisms to verify compliance and to redress situations of non-compliance, should they occur, strengthening global disarmament efforts.
During his opening remarks, the OPCW Director-General stated: “The OPCW has been a unique instrument of peace and security, that we continue to protect and develop, in the interest of the international community. Its success in the past 25 years has rested firmly on the shoulders of Member States, staff and other partners. While the challenges to the Convention are significant, I wish to underscore that the norm against the use of chemical weapons has remained strong. We must remain vigilant and, if necessary, ready to take action and address any alleged or proven violation of the norm..”
Panel discussions covered wide-ranging topics, with interventions by diplomats and external experts working on disarmament, non-proliferation and security. Future challenges and threats to the Convention, including chemical terrorism, non-state actors and risks related to the re-emergence of chemical weapons, were part of the discussions. Opportunities to strengthen implementation of the Convention were also a key part of the discussions, including the importance of incorporating gender perspectives and engaging the next generation to strengthen the global norm against chemical weapons.
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.