THE HAGUE, Netherlands—28 July 2022—The Advisory Board on Education and Outreach (ABEO) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) held its 13th Session from 19 to 21 July 2022 at the Headquarters of the OPCW in The Hague.
The ABEO provides advice on the development of education and outreach strategies, key messages, and partnerships that support the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and uphold the norm against chemical weapons.
The Board discussed educational projects to raise awareness of the Convention among undergraduates of scientific and social sciences faculties. The ABEO also focussed on the importance of designing and implementing effective strategies to disseminate these projects, that are tailored to regional and subregional contexts. The availability of multilingual resources in the OPCW’s six official languages was also prioritised at the meeting.
In her opening remarks, the OPCW Deputy Director-General, Ambassador Odette Melono, underscored that “awareness raising among the younger generations to achieve a deeper engagement in disarmament and non-proliferation is critical for upholding the norm against the use of chemical weapons.” She continued: “the ongoing work of the Board remains vital to the OPCW.”
The Deputy Director-General also called on the Board to continue to support National Authorities, upon the request of States Parties, to assist them in connecting with chemical industry, academia, and young professionals.
The Board elected its Chairperson, Professor Magda Bauta Soles of Republic of Cuba, and its Vice-Chairperson, Professor Supawan Tantayanon of the Kingdom of Thailand, to lead the work of the Board in 2023. The 13th Session of the ABEO was the first in-person meeting of the Board since July 2019.
The Advisory Board on Education and Outreach (ABEO) was established in 2015 by the Conference of the States Parties to assist the OPCW and its Member States in all aspects of education and outreach relevant to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Board is composed of 15 independent experts in subjects including education, science communication, the chemical industry, dual/multiple-use issues related to chemistry and the life sciences, and ethics and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
In September 2020, the Director-General established a Temporary Working Group (TWG) of the ABEO on e-learning, recognising the importance of enhancing OPCW’s e-learning portfolio for various specialist and non-specialist external audiences. It comprised of 10 prominent academics with experience and knowledge of e-learning theory and practice.
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.