Advisory Board on Education and Outreach recommends OPCW prioritise youth engagement

Board of independent experts advances recommendations on external engagement, highlights youth as important audience for chemical weapons issues

24 June 2024
Seventeenth Session of the Advisory Board on Education and Outreach (ABEO)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands—24 June 2024—The Advisory Board on Education and Outreach (ABEO) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) held its 17th Session from 11 to 13 June 2024 at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.  

The ABEO, composed 15 independent experts, was established in 2015 to provide advice on the development of education and outreach strategies, key messages, and partnerships that support the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and uphold the norm against chemical weapons. 

At this session, the Board discussed how to advance strategies and develop key messages to engage external stakeholders on topics related to the CWC. Youth was highlighted as an important audience to reach. Presentations from external experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Rey Juan Carlos University (Madrid) helped inform the ABEO’s discussion of best practices among international organisations and universities to engage young people through education and outreach.  

In his opening remarks, the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Fernando Arias, thanked the Board for its continuous work and noted the significant role of education and outreach for the future of the implementation of the CWC. He underscored “it is more important than ever that future generations of scientists and practitioners understand the risks that the developments of science and technology may pose to international arms control and non-proliferation efforts.”  

The Board emphasised the opportunities for education and outreach brought by the full operation of OPCW’s Centre for Chemistry and Technology. The Board suggested the OPCW broaden its collaboration with relevant international organisations and develop strategic academic partnerships to enhance peaceful and responsible uses of chemistry. To this end, the Board advanced both its inventory of academic institutions worldwide with courses on the CWC and prepared a syllabus on the CWC complete with links to educational resources to support educators.  

During the session, the Board delivered a briefing to OPCW Member States on their activities.  Over 40 States Parties from all OPCW geographical regions attended the briefing.   

Professor Magda Bauta Solés of the Republic of Cuba and Professor Ying Zhou of the People’s Republic of China were respectively elected as the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson to coordinate the work of the Board in 2025.  

OPCW Member States are invited to nominate experts to serve on ABEO for the term 2025-2027 by 30 June 2024.  


The Advisory Board on Education and Outreach (ABEO) was established in 2015 by the Conference of the States Parties to assist the OPCW and its Member States in all aspects of education and outreach relevant to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Board is composed of 15 independent experts in subjects including education, science communication, the chemical industry, dual/multiple-use issues related to chemistry and the life sciences, and ethics and the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

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. 

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