THE HAGUE, Netherlands—21 February 2023—The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, met with Finland’s State Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ms Johanna Sumuvuori, at the OPCW’s headquarters in The Hague.
Director-General Arias and H.E. Sumuvuori discussed the recently published third report of the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). The Director-General reiterated that the use of chemical weapons in Douma – and anywhere – is unacceptable and a breach of international law. He further emphasised that global chemical security can only be achieved through international collaboration.
The Director-General briefed H.E. Sumuvuori on the Organisation’s activities and gave an extensive overview of the new Centre for Chemistry and Technology (ChemTech Centre), adding that the ChemTech Centre will play a key role in boosting OPCW’s capabilities in all areas of relevance to the Organisation.
“The ChemTech Centre is an ambitious project with high potential that will guarantee the Organisation’s readiness to address an agenda that will remain open forever: completely eliminating and preventing the re-emergence of these horrific weapons,” the Director-General said.
The ChemTech Centre is an important upgrade to the OPCW’s research, analytical and capacity building activities. It will serve as a knowledge repository to address chemical threats worldwide, and as a platform for the broader OPCW community to promote expert dialogue, exchange, and collaboration in advancing the peaceful uses of chemistry. The new facility will also help strengthen Member States’ capabilities related to verification tools, detection and response in the case of a chemical emergency.
“The Chemical Weapons Convention is a key disarmament and non-proliferation instrument. Finland remains a strong supporter of the total prohibition and elimination of chemical weapons, and the fight against impunity,” said H.E. Sumuvuori.
“The opening of the ChemTech Centre and the upcoming Fifth Review Conference are both great opportunities for the international community to strengthen the implementation of the Convention and to achieve a common vision for countering the re-emergence of chemical weapons,” she added.
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. Finland has made substantial voluntary contributions to multiple OPCW trust funds, including Trust Fund for a Centre for Chemistry and Technology and the Trust Fund for Syria Missions.
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.