OPCW Director-General Calls for Strong Ethics in the Pursuit of Science at Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany

Tuesday, 04 July 2017

The Director-General of the OPCW taking part in a panel discussion at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 4 July 2017 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü reflected on the ethical dimension of chemistry during the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting on 30 June.

During the panel discussion on ethics in science, Ambassador Üzümcü recalled that this year the OPCW marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the establishment of the OPCW. 

He depicted the challenges and achievements of the two decades of the Organisation’s existence and lauded the Convention as “one of the world’s vanguards against weapons of mass destruction”, which represents today “an essential component of the international legal and security system”.

The Director-General accentuated that the CWC is “founded first and foremost on ethical and moral values” and recalled OPCW’s facilitation in the creation of The Hague Ethical Guidelines, a set of recommendations for the ethical practice of chemistry under the norms of the Convention.

“In the end, it is important that all scientists are aware of their responsibilities given the power that their special knowledge confers on them,” urged the Director-General.

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is an annual event fostering closer ties among scientists across generations, cultures, and disciplines. This year’s edition was dedicated to chemistry and included the participation of 29 Nobel Laureates, as well as 400 young scientists chosen to attend based on a stringent selection procedure.

Background 

A group of Nobel Prize laureates has been meeting annually since 1951 in Lindau, Germany with the next generation of scientists representing a variety of disciplines and world regions.

As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. 

To date, nearly 95 per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.

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