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
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.