THE HAGUE, Netherlands—14 July 2022—Yesterday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Finland, H.E. Mr Pekka Haavisto, visited the Headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.
The Deputy Director-General of the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Odette Melono, and other senior OPCW officials welcomed the Foreign Minister. During the meeting, the Deputy Director-General briefed the Minister on the achievements of the Organisation in the 25 years since the entry-into-force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and outlined contemporary challenges. The discussion also addressed the progress in the project to construct the OPCW ChemTech Centre and how it will address emerging challenges.
The Foreign Minister remarked: “The current security environment in Europe highlights the importance and relevance of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Finland remains a strong supporter of the OPCW and the expertise and professionalism of its Secretariat.”
The Deputy Director-General underscored that: “The cooperation of determined and committed Member States such as Finland to advance the objectives of the Convention is crucial to its full implementation and ridding the world of chemical weapons. The ChemTech Centre will strengthen the OPCW to respond to chemical weapons threats, as well as benefitting all Member States by enhancing capacity building activities.”
The Republic of Finland joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997 and is an active supporter of OPCW activities. Finland is a member of the Executive Council until 2024.
In 2020, Finland made a voluntary contribution of €100,000 to the Trust Fund for a Centre for Chemistry and Technology in 2020.
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 construction of the ChemTech Centre started in June 2021 and is planned to be finished by the end of 2022.
The Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (VERIFIN) has been a designated laboratory for both environmental and biomedical sample analysis since 1996. VERIFIN won the OPCW-The Hague Award in 2014 for its significant contribution to chemical disarmament through the development of analytical chemistry-based tools for verification of the Chemical Weapons 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.