THE HAGUE, Netherlands— 10 November 2023—The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias met with H.E. Mr Soltan bin Saad Al-Maraikhi, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, on his first official visit to the country from 23 to 24 October 2023.
In Doha, Ambassador Arias also opened the 10th Annual Meeting of Representatives of the Chemical Industry and National Authorities of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, hosted by the Qatar National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons (NCPW).
In a keynote address to the Meeting of the Chemical Industry and National Authorities, the Director-General said: “National implementation of the Convention is our first line of defence to prevent the use of toxic chemicals as weapons and their re-emergence.”
“The rapid expansion of chemical industry, both in size and sophistication, and technological and scientific advancements, are already impacting the implementation of the Convention. Knowledge, expertise, and the equipment to use new technologies, are more and more available worldwide, and can be used for illicit purposes,” he added.
The Director-General thanked Qatar for funding and hosting the annual gathering. In his bilateral meetings, he commended the country for the active role it has taken in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention since its entry into force in 1997. “I wish to seize this opportunity to thank the Government of Qatar for providing us with this valuable platform for sharing experiences, points of view, and best practices on implementation of the Convention at the national, regional, and global levels.”
The Chairman of the National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons (NCPW) Brigadier General Dr Abdulaziz Salmeen al-Jabri said that the meeting, which is one of the fruits of the close co-operation between the OPCW and Qatar to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), provides a unique global forum for States Parties.
“Since Qatar joined the CWC in 1997, it has spared no effort in implementing the Convention, through its support of the Organisation’s activities with its voluntary contributions, and its role as a member of the Organisation’s Executive Council, in addition to its constant pursuit of the universality of the Convention, which contributes to strengthening international peace and security,” Brigadier General Dr Abdulaziz Salmeen al-Jabri said.
Qatar has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997. Qatar 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.
Qatar has made voluntary contributions totalling more than EUR 280,000 to various OPCW trust funds, including the EUR 100,000 to the Trust Fund for a Centre for Chemistry and Technology
The Annual Meeting of Representatives of Chemical Industry and National Authorities of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention is hosted by Qatar every year and provides an opportunity for National Authorities and the chemical industry to enhance each other’s understanding of the work they do in relation to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and how they can collaborate to achieve these goals.
More than 50 participants representing 25 States Parties to the CWC attended the Meeting, in addition to experts from the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and the International Chemical Trade Association (ICTA). Participants discussed regulatory compliance and how to enhance engagement with the chemical industry in the development of regulatory measures. They exchanged information on approaches to awareness-raising and outreach to the chemical industry and ways to enhance the understanding of the Convention at the national level.
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.
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.
For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.