THE HAGUE, Netherlands—19 May 2023—The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, met with the Director-General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO), Dr Geoffrey Shaw, on the sidelines of the Fifth Review Conference in The Hague.
During the meeting, the OPCW Director-General briefed Dr Shaw on progress made in relation to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and addressed challenges in chemical safety in security arising from the contemporary non-proliferation and disarmament environment.
Ambassador Arias gave an extensive overview of the activities at the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (ChemTech Centre), which was inaugurated on 12 May in the presence of His Majesty the King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. The Director-General underlined that the Centre will play a major role in boosting OPCW’s capabilities in all areas of work relevant to the Organisation. He also highlighted the importance of the Fifth Review Conference for defining the way forward in implementing the Convention.
“The Fifth Review Conference is an opportunity to reinforce the global norm against chemical weapons, review the operation of the Convention and provide strategic guidance for the Organisation for the upcoming years,” Ambassador Arias stated.
“During the Fifth Review Conference to the Chemical Weapons Convention we need to reflect on the successes of the Convention, as well as the important work which remains to see the world free of the threat of chemical weapons,” said Dr Shaw.
“I thank Director-General Fernando Arias for his personal commitment to this endeavour; for his leadership and dedication to the goals of the Convention. Australia is committed to working with Director-General Arias, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and States Parties, particularly our regional partners, to strengthen implementation over the next five years,” he highlighted.
Australia has been an active member of the OPCW since 1997.
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.