THE HAGUE, Netherlands—2 May 2023— The Government of New Zealand has contributed more than €84,000 to the Trust Fund for Syria Missions of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The contribution will be used towards the full elimination of the Syrian Chemical Weapons Programme and clarification of facts related to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, in accordance with the relevant decisions of the policy-making organs of the OPCW.
The voluntary contribution was formalised on 1 May 2023 in a signing ceremony held between the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the OPCW, H.E. Ms Susannah Gordon, and the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Fernando Arias, at the OPCW’s Headquarters in The Hague.
“New Zealand is pleased to announce a further voluntary contribution to the OPCW Trust Fund for Syria Missions. The continued support from New Zealand demonstrates our confidence in OPCW’s independent and impartial work,” said Ambassador Gordon.
“This contribution will further assist the OPCW to complete its Syria-related mandated activities. We believe that the use of chemical weapons by anyone, at any time, under any circumstances is unacceptable. We will seek accountability for perpetrators who use these weapons,” she added.
The Director-General stated: “I express sincere appreciation to the Government of New Zealand for its financial and political support to the OPCW’s mission to permanently eradicate chemical weapons. This contribution will help the OPCW to continue its critical work in Syria to ensure that the norms and principles of the Chemical Weapons Convention are upheld.”
New Zealand has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997.
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.
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.