THE HAGUE, Netherlands—6 July 2023—Australia has contributed more than €60,000 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 as well as establishing facts surrounding the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, relevant decisions of the policy-making organs of the OPCW and resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
The voluntary contribution was formalised on 4 July 2023 during an official meeting held between the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Australia to the OPCW, H.E. Mr Gregory Alan French, and the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Fernando Arias, at the Organisation’s Headquarters in The Hague.
“Australia is a steadfast supporter of the OPCW and the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Our new voluntary contribution to the OPCW Trust Fund for Syria Missions will support the OPCW to complete its Syria-related mandated activities. The OPCW’s investigative work is a crucial step towards accountability for the use of chemical weapons. Australia remains committed to upholding the global norm against the use of chemical weapons,” said Ambassador French.
The Director-General stated: “I express my sincere appreciation to Australia for its financial and political support to the OPCW’s mission to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. This contribution will support the OPCW to continue its work on the Syrian chemical weapons dossier and to uphold the norms and principles of the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
Australia has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997.
To date, Australia has made voluntary contributions totalling € 1,805,740 to six different OPCW trust funds, including the Trust Fund for a Centre for Chemistry and Technology and the Trust Fund for Syria Missions.
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.