2008 Open Forum: Chemical Weapons Convention – recent experience and future prospects

Wednesday, 09 April 2008
The Open Forum took place at the OPCW Headquarters on the occasion of the Second Special Session of the Conference of States Parties to review the operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (7 – 18 April 2008). It was organised by non-governmental organisations that are interested in the Chemical Weapons Convention.
General view of participants in the Open Forum, held in The Hague on 9 April 2008

General view of participants in the Open Forum, held in The Hague on 9 April 2008

The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, highlighted in his opening address to the Forum that the CWC’s success was attributable not only to its broad international support from States Parties, but also to stakeholders beyond governments that had played a fundamental role in ensuring that the Convention operated in a conducive environment. He also noted that the goal of all participants at this Forum was the same: a commitment to peace and security and to the improvement of the human condition. He expressed his gratitude for the work of academia, NGOs and the chemical industry, and recommitted the OPCW to continued interaction with them.

Ambassador Lyn Parker, the Chairperson of the Open-Ended Working Group that prepared the Second Review Conference, gave an overview of the process. He noted that more than 30 formal meetings and a number of informal meetings were held to prepare the groundwork. The range of issues that were discussed provided a broad background to enable the Review Conference to set a direction for the future. Ambassador Parker also spoke on the role of NGOs in creating a wider awareness of the CWC, and said the Forum provided an opportunity for them to address delegations of OPCW Member States and express their view on the Conference.

The Open Forum consisted of 3 panels:

  1. Creating a more secure world through the Chemical Weapons Convention
  2. Peaceful chemistry
  3. The impact of science and technology on the Chemical Weapons Convention verification regime

The following presentations were made that can be accessed on the OPCW website:

  • Prospects for CWC Universality (Daniel Feakes, Harvard Sussex Programme)
  • Chemical Weapons Destruction: Progress and Challenges (Dr. Paul Walker, Global Green USA)
  • The CWC and Industry: 10 years On and Beyond (Neil Harvey, CEFIC)
  • National Implementation (Angela Woodward, VERTIC)
  • Assistance and Protection: Access of the Czech Republic to Article X (Jiří Matoušek, International Network of Engineers and Scientists)
  • Outreach and Codes of Conduct (Alastair Hay, IUPAC)
  • Economic and Technological Development (Abdouraman Bary, Head, National Authority of Burkina Faso)
  • Toxic Chemicals and Law Enforcement (Mark Wheelis, Scientists’ Working Group on Biological and Chemical Weapons)
  • Other Chemical Production Facilities Inspections (Robert Mathews, Associate Professor, University of Melbourne)

Categories: Assistance and Protection, Disarmament, International Cooperation, National implementation, Non-proliferation of chemical weapons, RC-2, Universality

For further information, please contact Mr Malik Ellahi, Acting Head, OPCW Media & Public Affairs. Tel: + 31 (0) 70 416 3836 or
+31 (0) 6 2905 5337 or media@opcw.org | ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR The Hague, The Netherlands 

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