THE HAGUE, Netherlands—21 June 2023—The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, met with Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr Dato’ Seri Diraja Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, at the OPCW’s Headquarters in the Hague.
During the bilateral meeting, the Director-General and the Minister exchanged views on threats and opportunities arising from the contemporary international security environment as well as the rapid development of science and technology that may have impacts on the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Director-General briefed the Minister on the efforts undertaken by the Technical Secretariat to adapt to the post-destruction phase in the context of these developments. He also assured the Minister of the Technical Secretariat’s continued commitment to enhance international cooperation and capacity building activities for Member States.
The Director-General emphasised the essential role of the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (ChemTech Centre), inaugurated on 12 May, in strengthening the Organisation’s work in these areas.
“The advanced training facility of the ChemTech Centre will strengthen national and regional emergency response capabilities against chemical incidents,” the Director-General said. “Enhancing capacity building for Member States is essential for the implementation of the Convention.”
“Malaysia has been engaging OPCW on wide array of cooperation, particularly under the International Cooperation and Assistance Programme. We look forward to strengthening this cooperation further. Malaysia remains committed to working with the OPCW towards the full, effective, and non-discriminatory implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” the Minister highlighted.
Malaysia has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997. Malaysia is a member of the Executive Council, the OPCW’s executive organ, which is responsible for promoting the effective implementation of and compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as supervising the activities of the Organisation’s Technical Secretariat.
The ChemTech Centre is a major investment funded entirely through voluntary contributions from 57 countries, including Malaysia; 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.