THE HAGUE, Netherlands—5 May 2023—The Government of France has contributed €1.7M to several trust funds of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
A contribution of €1M will be allocated to the OPCW Trust Fund for Syria Missions and will be used towards the full elimination of the Syrian Chemical Weapons Programme as well as establishing facts surrounding the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, in accordance with the Convention and the relevant decisions of the policy-making organs of the OPCW.
An amount of €300,000 will be earmarked for bilateral assistance activities for Ukraine through the OPCW Trust Fund for the Implementation of Article X.
In addition, €400,000 will be allocated to the OPCW Trust Fund for Training, €300,000 of which will be used to strengthen mitigation capacities and preparedness to respond to chemical incidents and attacks in French-speaking African States Parties. The amount of €100,000 will be utilised for capacity building activities related to non-routine missions for OPCW staff.
The voluntary contributions were formalised on 3 May 2023 in a signing ceremony held between the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the OPCW, H.E. Mr François Alabrune, and the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Fernando Arias, at the OPCW’s Headquarters in The Hague.
“I am particularly honoured to announce France’s new voluntary contribution to support the OPCW’s missions in Syria at a time which is a stark reminder of how essential OPCW’s mandate is. France supports the work conducted by the OPCW related to the use of chemicals as weapons in Syria and stands ready to provide the Organisation with the means to accomplish its mission. We must put an end to the use of these horrific weapons and prevent their re-emergence,” said Ambassador Alabrune.
“France stands with Ukraine and is fully mobilised to provide it with the means to protect its population in facing the threat of chemical weapons use, pursuant to Article X of the Convention,” he emphasised.
“We are also pleased to support the OPCW capacity building efforts to strengthen the preparedness and response capacities of French-speaking African States Parties in the event of a chemical incident or attack, in connection with the new OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology. We further welcome the upcoming organisation of symposia highlighting the role of women in the peaceful uses of chemistry at the ChemTech Centre in 2023 and 2024, funded by France’s previous voluntary contribution, in line with our commitment to fostering international cooperation. By investing in the OPCW for the future, we reaffirm our choice of a humanist and feminist foreign policy, resolutely committed to global peace and development,” he added.
The Director-General stated: “I express my sincere appreciation to France for its strong financial and political support to the OPCW’s mission to permanently eradicate chemical weapons. These new contributions will help the Organisation continue its critical work to support the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and help uphold the universal norm against the use of chemical weapons.”
“Eliminating chemical weapons is a global endeavour with many stakeholders, each with a role to play. The best defence against chemical threats is to ensure that national measures are fully established and that OPCW Member States are able to detect, pursue, and prosecute any breach of the Convention domestically,” he emphasised.
France has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997. France is a member of the OPCW Executive Council, the governing body of the Organisation.
The Declaration Assessment Team was established in 2014 to engage the relevant Syrian authorities to resolve the identified gaps, inconsistencies, and discrepancies in the Syrian declaration. The Fact-Finding Mission was set up in the same year in response to persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks in Syria, with the task to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes. The Investigation and Identification Team began its work in 2019 and is responsible for identifying the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Under Article X of the CWC, Member States “have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, material and scientific and technological information concerning means of protection against chemical weapons.”
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.