THE HAGUE, Netherlands—16 May 2023— The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, met with the Minister of State of the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), H.E. Baroness Goldie, on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (ChemTech Centre) on 12 May.
“Over 25 years ago, the Chemical Weapons Convention came into force, with the vow to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction, and much has been achieved in that time,” the Minister said.
“There is still a way to go, and that is why the UK are committed to giving the OPCW our full support, including funding for this wonderful new centre which has opened today, which will help to deliver on the goal of a world free of chemical weapons,” she emphasised.
“I am honoured to receive you, Minister Goldie, at the inauguration ceremony of the ChemTech Centre,” the Director-General said. “I express my sincere appreciation to the UK and all other donors, who made this Centre a reality. The ChemTech Centre will significantly enhance OPCW’s capabilities to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention and ensure that chemistry is used exclusively for peaceful and authorised purposes.”
The ChemTech Centre is an important upgrade to the OPCW’s capabilities to adapt to the evolving global security landscape and assist Member States in upholding the global norm against chemical weapons. It will ensure that the Organisation remains able to address threats and opportunities arising from rapid progress in science and technology.
The Centre also provides a platform to better coordinate efforts between scientists, academia, civil society, industry, and relevant international organisations. Activities at the Centre underpin the role of the Organisation as the world’s leading repository of chemical weapons related expertise and knowledge, addressing chemical threats worldwide.
The ChemTech Centre is located in Pijnacker-Nootdorp, 12 km from OPCW Headquarters in The Hague. The floor size of the facility is 5,700m². It houses the OPCW Laboratory, a Technology and Training Hub, an instruction space, and advanced training facilities for OPCW staff and capacity building activities for experts from Member States
The ChemTech Centre is a major investment funded entirely through voluntary contributions from 57 countries, the European Union and other donors totalling more than €34M. Construction of the Centre began in June 2021 and the facility was officially accepted by the OPCW on 27 January 2023. The Centre was inaugurated on 12 May 2023 in the presence of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
The ChemTech Centre will enhance the OPCW’s ability to conduct chemical research and analysis. This will significantly reinforce its verification regime and inspection capabilities of chemical industries around the world. In addition, an increasing number of capacity development activities will be delivered through the Centre, including chemical emergency response trainings and analytical skills development courses for experts from Member States.
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.