THE HAGUE, Netherlands—26 April 2022— The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, met with the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, at the OPCW’s Headquarters in The Hague.
The Director-General gave an extensive overview of the OPCW’s work, highlighting upcoming milestones for the Organisation related to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), including the operationalisation of the new OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (ChemTech Centre) and the Fifth Review Conference taking place from 15 to 19 May in The Hague.
Ambassador Arias emphasised the essential role the ChemTech Centre will play in advancing the Organisation’s capacity building activities for all Member States, including African countries.
“The ChemTech Centre is an important upgrade to the OPCW to ensure that the Organisation remains able to address threats and opportunities from rapid progress of science and technology in the field of chemistry,” the Director-General said.
“The ChemTech Centre responds to the needs of Member States through providing training, capacity building and international cooperation to enhance national capacity to implement the Convention to respond to and guard against the threat of chemical weapons,” he added.
“I commend the important role of the OPCW in promoting a safer world free of chemical weapons. Consolidated efforts are needed to ensure chemical security in Africa,” Ambassador Adeoye stated.
“In this regard, the AU remains keen to collaborate with the OPCW to make the world safer with the peaceful uses of chemistry and encourage African State Parties to implement the Convention,” he added.
Ambassador Adeoye saluted the special attention given by the OPCW to the African region and applauded in this context the OPCW’s Programme to Strengthen Cooperation with Africa. He underscored the contributions of the Programme activities to promoting chemical security, trade and development in Africa, in alignment with the relevant agendas of the continent.
The Director-General and the AU Commissioner convened to further strengthen the cooperation ties between the OPCW and the African Union Commission, notably in line with the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2006 between the two Organisations.
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.
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- Photos from the event