OPCW Conference of the States Parties opens

OPCW Member States meet for annual Conference to review progress in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, address challenges and mark the path forward

27 November 2023

THE HAGUE, Netherlands—27 November 2023— The Twenty-Eighth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CSP-28) opened today in The Hague, Netherlands. The session is livestreamed on the OPCW website

“Current developments in peace and security heighten the threat of chemical weapons use. In these challenging times the Conference, as the highest decision-making body of the Organisation is required to take decisions and actions to preserve the norm against chemical weapons,” said OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Fernando Arias, at the opening of the Conference.  

Key discussion topics during the Conference will be:  

  • the role of the OPCW and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in strengthening international peace and security, including preventing chemical weapons re-emergence;  

  • addressing the threat from chemical weapons use;  

  • science and technology developments relevant to the Convention’s implementation;   

  • promoting peaceful applications of chemistry and ensuring safe production and secure use of chemicals;  

  • promoting universality of the Convention;  

  • the biennial programme and budget for 2024-2025;  

  • strengthening institutional governance at the OPCW.   

The Conference is chaired by the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the OPCW, H.E. Mr Suljuk Mustansar Tarar, who assumed his duties from the outgoing Chairperson, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the OPCW, H.E. Mr Vusimuzi Madonsela.  

On Monday, 27 November, an official ceremony for the OPCW-The Hague Award was held. This year the award honours three recipients:  

  • The Spiez Laboratory in Switzerland   

  • Dr Syeda Sultana Razia, Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and member of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)  

  • Mr Hubert K Foy, Founding Director and Senior Research Scientist at the African Centre for Science and International Security in Ghana   

On Wednesday, 29 November, the Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare will be observed with a minute of silence. The Conference will reaffirm its commitment to the norm against chemical weapons in all circumstances.  

A number of side events focusing on topics related to the CWC are taking place in the margins of the Conference. 

OPCW milestones since CSP-27: a year at a glance  

Since CSP-27 last year, the OPCW has achieved several milestones related to the implementation of the Convention: 

The end of destruction of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles  

On 7 July 2023, the OPCW verified that all chemical weapons stockpiles declared by the 193 States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention since 1997 — totalling 72,304 metric tonnes of chemical agents — have been irreversibly destroyed under the OPCW’s strict verification regime. This was an important milestone for the Organisation and a critical step towards achieving its mission to free the world of chemical weapons. It represented 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. More information  

The inauguration of the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (ChemTech Centre) 

The ChemTech Centre was inaugurated on 12 May 2023. The Centre is an important tool for the Organisation to tackle current and future challenges related to chemical weapons re-emergence. It allows the OPCW to monitor and respond to rapid developments in science and technology, which could have a significant impact on chemical disarmament and non-proliferation. In addition, the Centre enhances the OPCW’s ability to conduct chemical research and analysis, which significantly reinforces the Organisation’s verification regime and inspection capabilities of chemical industries around the world. Moreover, an increasing number of capacity development activities are being delivered through the Centre, including chemical emergency response trainings and analytical skills development courses for experts from Member States. More information  

The Fifth Session of the Review Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (RC-5) 

RC-5 took place from 15 to 19 May 2023 in the Hague, Netherlands. The Conference of the States Parties convenes in a special session called the Review Conference every five years to examine the CWC’s operation. The RC evaluates the Convention’s implementation status and sets out priorities for the OPCW for the upcoming years. It provides strategic direction for the Organisation and ensures that it has adequate resources to deliver on all its core objectives.   

Some of the topics in focus discussed at RC-5 were the role of the OPCW and the CWC in strengthening international peace and security, including preventing chemical weapons re-emergence; maintaining readiness to respond to use or threats of use of chemical weapons; science and technology developments relevant to the Convention’s implementation; promoting peaceful and authorised applications of chemistry and ensuring safe production and secure use of chemicals. More information  

CHEMEX Africa  

CHEMEX Africa was the first ever OPCW large-scale chemical emergency response exercise for African countries. During this two-week capacity building programme, African instructors trained African first responders in a South-South collaboration. 

CHEMEX Africa was unique in its approach, combining a comprehensive theoretical framework with hands-on experience, including a chemical emergency response simulation. OPCW Member States representatives and other key stakeholders attended the demonstration to witness how a chemical emergency can unfold. More information  


The Conference of the States Parties (CSP) is the principal and plenary organ of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), composed of the OPCW’s 193 Member States. The weeklong annual meeting of the Conference brings together high-level officials from OPCW Member States, as well as representatives from international organisations, the chemical industry, and civil society. The CSP oversees the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), promotes the Convention’s objectives and reviews compliance with the treaty. 

The CSP, at its 20th Session, decided that a Memorial Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare would be observed annually during the Conference. This commemoration provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare, as well as to reaffirm OPCW’s commitment to achieve a world free of chemical weapons.  

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. To preserve the legacy of this achievement, the OPCW established the OPCW-The Hague Award in partnership with the Municipality of The Hague in 2014. The Award honours the efforts of individuals and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution towards a world free of chemical weapons. 

More Information