THE HAGUE, Netherlands—31 May 2022—The Director-General for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, met today with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Principality of Andorra, Ms Maria Ubach Font, at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.
The Director-General briefed the Minister on efforts to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons in the current international security situation, including the situation in Ukraine and Syria. The officials discussed the implementation of the robust verification regime mandated by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and on-going capacity building programmes aimed at strengthening chemical safety and security in 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 enhance the Organisation’s capability to support Member States in the use of chemistry for peaceful and authorise purposes.
Minister Ubach Font stated: “The Government of Andorra supports the important work carried out by the OPCW and the Director-General and its team for a world free of chemical weapons and the threat of their use. OPCW’s work is also important to strengthen multilateralism, as well as peace and international security. Moreover, I welcome the construction of the ChemTech Centre, to which Andorra has been contributing for several years, and that will reinforce the training and capacity-building capabilities of the OPCW in the effort to rid the world of chemical weapons.”
The Director-General stated: “Andorra is an active supporter of the Chemical Weapons Convention and I am thankful for their contributions to the ChemTech Centre. Together we will continue to work to uphold the Convention and strive to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons.”
Andorra has been an active member of the OPCW since 2003.
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.
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.