UN Secretary-General Addresses High-Level Meeting in New York to Mark 15 Years of the OPCW

Tuesday, 02 October 2012

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons held a high-level meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 1 October 2012. Convened to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the OPCW, with the theme: “Fifteen Years of the Chemical Weapons Convention: Celebrating Success. Committing to the Future”, the meeting was designed to renew the commitment of the international community to the Convention’s aims and objectives.

The meeting was opened jointly by the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, and the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü. Speaking on the occasion, the Secretary-General stated, that “today’s meeting is an opportune moment to reaffirm our support for the core objectives of the CWC – and look to current and future challenges.” Noting the progress made towards achieving the goals of the Convention, he said that “now is the time to build upon the Convention’s achievements and prevent the re-emergence and proliferation of chemical weapons.”

The Secretary-General stressed the importance of attaining the universality of the Convention and made it clear that “the use of such weapons would be an outrageous crime with dire consequences.”

In his statement, Director-General Üzümcü, referring to the purpose of the high level meeting, said that “we have come together as partners in a unique and noble cause. We look back at what we have accomplished in the past 15 years; recognising the progress that has been made in eliminating an entire category of weapons of mass destruction - an achievement that has no precedent in history. And, we wish to look ahead to building on that success and committing to the future.”

The Director-General reviewed the work of the OPCW over the last 15 years and enumerated the challenges ahead. He remarked that “the CWC and the OPCW offer a model that can indeed spur progress in other areas of global policy.”

The OPCW is regarded as a singular success in disarmament. It has already gained the membership of 188 States Parties. The first international treaty to obligate the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under verification, the OPCW has overseen the destruction of three quarters of all declared chemical weapons – an unprecedented achievement in the annals of disarmament.

The OPCW continues to provide assurance of security to its States Parties against the production, re-emergence or use of chemical weapons. The high level meeting, while serving to reaffirm the collective resolve of the international community to completely banish chemical weapons from the world, also provided an opportunity to focus on the future challenges of the OPCW. With complete destruction of all declared chemical weapons now in sight, the long-term goals of CWC universality (eight States Parties still remain outside the Convention) and preventing the re-emergence of these weapons will assume centrality in the OPCW’s work.

Speakers at the high level meeting underscored the importance of ensuring that the prohibitions of the CWC were upheld for all times to come through full and effective implementation of the Convention and international cooperation amongst its States Parties.

The widely attended meeting was addressed by over 40 speakers including Ministers from States Parties to the Convention.


Categories: OPCW and the UN, Remembrances, commemorations, condolences

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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