National Authorities foster global cooperation to advance implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention

Annual meeting provides forum to discuss opportunities and address needs for capacity building support related to implementation of Convention

18 December 2023
Ambassador Fernando Arias, Director-General of the OPCW, addresses delegates at the 25th National Authorities meeting

Ambassador Fernando Arias, Director-General of the OPCW, addresses delegates at the 25th National Authorities meeting

The Hague, The Netherlands–19 December 2023–The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) held its Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting of National Authorities from 22 to 24 November 2023 at its Headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands. The main objective of the meeting was to foster international cooperation and strengthen regional networks to bolster the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

The annual meeting serves as a platform to establish interactive communication and cooperation mechanisms among National Authorities and between National Authorities and the OPCW. It promotes cooperation at both national and regional levels and offers an opportunity to discuss capacity building support, including needs assessment, best practices, and ways to improve the design of programmatic activities.

This year’s meeting was attended by 200 participants, including 166 experts from National Authorities of 121 Member States. This diverse gathering facilitated in-depth discussions on how to enhance capabilities in Member States to strengthen compliance with the Convention. Participants discussed key topics, such as:

  • the role of customs authorities as essential national stakeholders in the CWC implementation;
  • the significance of the Convention in addressing the re-emergence of chemical weapons, including through non-State actors;
  • regional cooperation in countering the threat of chemical terrorism;
  • the CWC National Implementation Framework;
  • the Mentorship/Partnership Programme.

The annual event featured regional meetings for all represented groups: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), and Western European and Others Group (WEOG). A record number of 114 bilateral meetings held this year among Member States representatives and OPCW officials addressed a variety of topics, including assistance for the implementation of CWC legislation, utilisation of electronic declaration software tools developed. 

International partners, such as the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the World Customs Organisation, and the International Chemical Trade Association, also participated in the event.

The annual meeting reinforced collaboration between National Authorities and the OPCW by facilitating elaborate discussions on how to address current and future challenges regarding capacity building activities related to the implementation of the Convention. Discussions underlined the importance of strengthening cooperation, compliance with national obligations under the Convention and relations between the OPCW and its Member States.

Participants at the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting of National Authorities held at the OPCW Headquarters from 22 - 24 November 2023

Participants at the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting of National Authorities held at the OPCW Headquarters from 22 – 24 November 2023


The annual meetings contribute to the creation of global, regional, and sub-regional networks in support of the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and provide the opportunities to discuss and address specific issues and needs of capacity building support.

The meetings also serve as important forums to hold bilateral meetings with the OPCW’s Technical Secretariat.


  • Provide an occasion for National Authorities to highlight and work through relevant issues in order to enhance their capacity to comply with their obligations under the Convention.
  • Promote cooperation among National Authorities in order to further the implementation of the Convention at the regional level.
  • Promote cooperation among States Parties and between States Parties and the Secretariat.

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.

More Information