THE HAGUE, Netherlands—7 July 2023—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirms that the last chemical weapon from the stockpiles declared by all States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was verified as destroyed. The last chemical munition of the United States of America’s declared chemical weapons stockpile was irreversibly destroyed in accordance with the CWC on Friday, 7 July 2023 at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in Kentucky.
“I congratulate all States Parties, and the United States of America in this instance, on this major achievement for the international community. The end of destruction of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles is an important milestone for the Organisation. It is a critical step towards achieving its mission to permanently eliminate all chemical weapons,” said OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Fernando Arias.
“This represents a historic success of multilateralism in the field of disarmament, and the work of a generation of diplomats and experts over the past 26 years. Yet, more challenges lie ahead of us, which require the international community’s continued attention. Four countries have yet to join the Convention. Abandoned and old chemical weapons still need to be recovered and destroyed,” the Director-General highlighted. “Recent uses and threats of use of toxic chemicals as weapons illustrate that preventing re-emergence will remain a priority for the Organisation. Rapid developments in science and technology, new dangerous toxic chemicals, more sophisticated equipment and production methods, better means of delivery, and the interaction between chemistry, biology, and artificial intelligence, present additional factors that will put the relevance of the Chemical Weapons Convention to the test. These provide the Organisation with new and challenging tasks, and an agenda for our common work that will remain an open one.”
“The OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology, which started operation in May 2023, is an essential tool to enhance the Organisation’s capabilities to address these threats. The international community can count on the Secretariat’s independence, expertise and readiness to play its part,” the Director-General concluded.
Since the CWC entered into force in 1997, the OPCW has verified the destruction of 72,304.34 metric tonnes of stockpiled chemical weapons, declared by countries around the world. The OPCW will continue to monitor the closure of the last two destruction facilities at Pueblo and Blue Grass in the U.S., including the disposal of waste resulting from the destruction process.
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.
For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.