Achieving Universality
Ensuring a truly global treaty

Today, 193 States have committed to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), making it the world’s most successful international disarmament treaty for eliminating an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. Only four countries have yet to join the Convention.

The CWC is an effective and comprehensive legal instrument for the eradication of chemical weapons; however, the world can only have confidence chemistry is only being used in the service of peace once the few remaining countries outside the Convention take on its responsibilities.

Why is universality important?

Universality underpins the achievement of a comprehensive, verifiable ban on chemical weapons. It consolidates the international norm prohibiting chemical weapons, reinforces the Convention as a confidence-building measure, prevents proliferation, and helps deny access to chemical weapons by non-State actors.

Even as the destruction of declared chemical weapon stockpiles near completion, the chemical terrorism has become a serious risk. Universality is critical to preventing the re-emergence of these weapons and to blocking access to them by non-State actors.

As long as there is the possibility that chemical weapons exist in any country, the world still lives under the threat of their use. Only by achieving the full universality of the Convention can the world be assured all chemical arsenals have been declared and destroyed.

Benefits of Membership

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Security

Implementing the Convention improves national, regional, and international security. By eliminating chemical weapons and carefully monitoring the production and transfer of chemicals that could be misused, the threat of their hostile use is dramatically reduced. Moreover, being a member of the OPCW and contributing to its decision-making process boosts a State’s international standing and places it at the centre of WMD disarmament efforts.

Strengthened national capacities

Strengthened National Capacities

The OPCW supports the national implementation of the Convention by providing training, organising exchanges and workshops, and facilitating on-site assistance with declarations and legislation. This support has positive spin-offs in other fields contributing to economic and technological development.

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Economic and Technological Development

The OPCW provides a wide range of capacity building activities, aimed at supporting the scientific and economic development of its Member States. International cooperation and capacity building is promoted in many areas, from providing legal assistance to training chemistry professionals.

Emergency

Emergency Preparedness and Response

The OPCW provides training programmes to build the capabilities of Member States to ensure their preparedness to respond to the threat of a chemical incident.

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Resources

The OPCW provides financial support to Member States with economies in transition through scientific exchanges and internships, and the exchange of laboratory equipment. Finally, the Organisation funds research projects and scientific and legal conferences relevant to the Convention.

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Technical Assistance

The OPCW can provide technical assistance to Member States including help with the destruction of chemical weapons and independent chemical analysis. The Organisation also offers audits of national laboratories to support the establishment of quality assurance systems.

How is the OPCW working to achieve universality?

The OPCW and its Member States continue to engage with States not Party to demonstrate the value of the Convention and its contribution to regional and international peace and security. These activities are guided by the 2003 Action Plan for the Universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

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