National Implementation Framework

Delivering on the Convention’s Promise

The purpose of the National Implementation Framework is to provide Member States with a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to effective national implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. It lists key elements of Convention implementation and a process for analysing and prioritising implementation measures. The framework should be used to prepare a needs assessment and a comprehensive national implementation plan, in consultation with national stakeholders.

Objectives

Globe

Build awareness among States Parties to the Convention on the complex and comprehensive nature of the national implementation process.

Team

Provide an overview of the current status of CWC national implementation.

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Identify gaps and areas where further progress is needed.

Book

Provide a framework for developing a national CWC implementation action plan.

Inform

Keep the Technical Secretariat Informed, so that OPCW capacity building meets the needs of Member States.

Teamwork

Ensure better knowledge management and sharing in each Member State for effective national implementation.

This framework should be used as the basis for producing a comprehensive needs assessment and a CWC national implementation action plan in cooperation with national stakeholders. If requested, the Secretariat can support this process.

This action plan is an evolving document which is continuously adapted to reflect national priorities and conditions. If shared, each State’s plan will contribute to the design of the Secretariat’s capacity-building programmes, ensuring that programmes contribute directly to States Parties’ national implementation needs and priorities.

The framework promotes an integrated approach to implementation of the Convention. It helps States Parties navigate Convention implementation and helps to identify the linkages between obligations. For instance, enforcement of the transfers regime of scheduled chemicals—required under Article VI and the Verification Annex—requires the adoption of the necessary laws and regulations which regulate trade in chemicals and the establishment of effective interagency cooperation.

Implementers

According to the Convention, States Parties must designate or establish a National Authority, which serves as the national focal point for liaison with the OPCW and with other States Parties. However, this does not mean that the designated National Authority is the only implementer of CWC obligations at the national level. Rather, it has a key role in the national implementation process, as it is expected to coordinate the efforts of other domestic stakeholders.

The Convention does not specify the manner in which a National Authority shall be designated or established, nor does it provide guidance on the National Authority’s structure and any stakeholder coordination mechanisms. States Parties are free to decide on those matters according to their specific national context as well as their thematic priorities in CWC implementation. 

To be effective, National Authorities need to be empowered with the appropriate financial and human resources as well as the knowledge base to fulfil the national coordination function for CWC implementation.

The National Implementation Framework process

The National Implementation Framework is designed as a process comprising a number of steps which lead to a national implementation action plan.

The first three steps provide for a needs assessment on which the action plan should be based.

Step 1: Context analysis

Implementation of the CWC is not the same in each State Party.  While the Convention provides for some specific implementation measures that are common to all States Parties (such as enacting penal legislation and establishing a National Authority), it also allows each State Party to determine what is necessary with regards to achieving certain obligations set out in the Convention, depending on the State’s national context.

Factors that may be taken into account in determining which measures may be necessary include:

  • the State’s security situation;
  • the types and quantities of toxic chemicals present in or transiting through its jurisdiction;
  • the state of development of its chemical industry;
  • its state of preparedness for a chemical attack or incident;
  • and any other relevant factors. 

The context analysis should also consider two key enabling factors: 

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The existence of an effective National Authority with capacity to effectively coordinate all relevant stakeholders.

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A legislative framework which includes all initial measures required as part of the national implementation process.

Step 2: Stakeholder analysis

CWC national implementation requires the involvement and coordination of a range of national stakeholders. At the second step in the national implementation framework process, the National Authority should identify these stakeholders and their roles in CWC implementation. Stakeholders are likely to include:

  • the chemical industry and other users or producers of toxic chemicals, including laboratories, transporters, retailers, etc;
  • enforcement agencies such as police, customs or other agencies defined by regulation;
  • response agencies such as police and fire or civil defence services;
  • any other government agency the activities of which have a bearing on CWC implementation.

The OPCW regularly holds training events for national stakeholders – National Authorities are advised to keep a record of participants in OPCW training so that they can be actively involved in the national implementation process.

Step 3: Identifying gaps and formulating priorities

Once the context and stakeholder analyses are complete, the next step is to identify areas of national implementation where progress is needed.  Such a process may include the following:

1. Determine existing national implementation measures

National implementation measures that have already been put in place should be taken into account. These include:

  • legislative and regulatory measures,
  • chemical preparedness and response capabilities,
  • safety and security policies and practices,
  • counter-terrorism efforts as they relate to toxic chemicals, and
  • the current structure and capacity of the National Authority and its work with partner agencies. 

The National Implementation Checklist can help in this process.

2. Review the effectiveness of the existing national implementation measures

As national contexts may change over time, States Parties should also analyse regularly whether existing implementation measures are adequate. Questions the State Party may pose in this process include:

  • whether its legal and regulatory measures satisfy the baseline requirements of the Convention,
  • whether national controls on toxic chemicals are adequate in light of evolving security threats,
  • whether its chemical industry is sufficiently incentivised to provide the necessary declarations information to the National Authority,
  • whether its customs authorities have sufficient legal powers to enforce the Convention’s transfers regime,
  • and so on. 

3. Identify the gaps in implementation

Using the National Implementation Checklist below, which may be adjusted according to the State Party’s requirements and context, a list of required action areas should be built up.  These action areas will be the core of the national implementation action plan. 

4. Prioritise

Depending on the specific national and regional context, the outcomes of the gap analysis, and the available resources, each State Party may prioritise different objectives and tasks for CWC implementation for a given period of time. In prioritising, the States Parties may also consider social, political, environmental and macroeconomic factors that have an impact on the national implementation of the Convention as well as any relevant factors from the regional context. Each priority identified by the National Authority and relevant stakeholders should envisage achievement of concrete results at the output (short-term) and outcome (long-term) levels.

Implementation priorities may include, but are not limited to, such issues as:

  • effective functioning of the National Authority,
  • national implementing legislation,
  • chemical safety and security,
  • economic and technological development,
  • national capacity in assistance and protection,
  • OPCW and national industry inspections,
  • securing and accounting for the trade in scheduled chemicals, and
  • education and outreach. 

Step 4: Creating a National Implementation Action Plan

A National Implementation Action Plan is important for summarising (in a structured manner) the actions that the National Authority will take in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. 

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Time Frame

The Action Plan may cover a period of 2-3 years

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Purpose

It can serve as a basis for monitoring progress in CWC national implementation.

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Working Document

It should be viewed as a working document that can be updated in light of progress made and adjusted to changes in the national context.

Sample Action Plan Structure for National Authorities

Below is an example of an Action Plan structure. State Parties should also consider how the implementation of the Action Plan will be monitored and evaluated, and who will be responsible for doing so.

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Priority objective

 

Action

Actions which must be completed to achieve the objective

Responsible  

The agency responsible for the action

Partners

Stakeholders whose cooperation is required

Budget

Financial resources required

Timeframe 

When the action must be completed

Status

Completed  / in progress

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2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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National Implementation Checklist

To provide States Parties with guidance on national implementation, the Technical Secretariat has developed a list of suggested activities to guide the process of analysis, prioritisation and planning that ensure compliance with the Convention’s obligations. 

This list is intended as an accessible reference guide and does not constitute legal advice. The Chemical Weapons Convention and decisions adopted by the Policy-Making Organs of the OPCW are the only authentic legal reference.

The list consists of five key themes:

General

Obligations: 

  • Adopt the necessary legislative and administrative measures to implement CWC obligations (Article VII)
  • Notify the OPCW of amendments to national implementing legislation or measures (Article VII)
  • Establish or designate a National Authority (Article VII)
  • Treat as confidential information provided in confidence by the OPCW (Article VII)
  • Cooperate with the Technical Secretariat in the exercise of all its functions and provide assistance to the Technical Secretariat (Article VII)
  • Pay assessed contributions to the OPCW in full and on time (Article VIII)

Implementation best practices:

  • Use the National Implementation Framework
  • Develop a CWC national implementation action plan and ensure appropriate resource allocation for its execution (funding and staff)
  • Share the national implementation action plan with the OPCW Technical Secretariat to help inform capacity-building, and with other States Parties that could offer implementation support
  • Prior to adopting implementing legislation, ensure that the CWC National Authority has the legal basis to facilitate the adoption process
  • Identify relevant stakeholders and establish focal points on CWC
  • Develop terms of reference for relevant stakeholders which will clarify their roles and responsibilities with regard to CWC implementation
  • Hold regular coordination meetings with relevant stakeholders
  • Ensure regular national engagement in OPCW capacity building in accordance with gaps identified in the national implementation action plan
  • Select the most relevant national candidates for OPCW capacity-building and maintain a record of participants in such programmes
  • Establish a knowledge sharing mechanism and require participants in OPCW capacity building to share gained knowledge through meetings and reports
  • Establish adequate knowledge management processes within the National Authority (information repository and knowledge transfer procedures)
  • Inform the OPCW about changes in national focal points
  • Hold national CWC capacity building and awareness raising events
  • Partner with other National Authorities to share lessons learned, implementation tools, etc. (Twinning Programme)
  • Actively involve specialised institutions with technical/scientific expertise in the CWC implementation process (e.g. customs laboratories, research laboratories etc.)

Verification

Obligations:

  • Adopt the necessary measures to control all activities subject to declaration according to the CWC (Article VI)
  • Submit initial declarations (Article III, Article VI)
  • Submit annual declarations on anticipated and past activities on the chemicals and facilities specified in the Convention (Verification Annex)
  • Receive OPCW inspections and ensure affected industry is prepared to do so (Verification Annex)
  • Update the initial declaration, as required, with respect to riot-control agents (Article III)
  • Conclude a facility agreement with the OPCW in relation to each Schedule 1 facility (Verification Annex, Part III, A(3))
  • Extend privileges and immunities to members of inspection teams (Verification Annex, Part II, B)

Implementation best practices: 

  • Evaluate declaration-related information and identify discrepancies in declarations submitted by plant sites, traders, etc., including by verifying the information from different sources.
  • Perform a periodic review of the activities controlled by the CWC and make the necessary updates to declarations in a timely manner.
  • Require declared plant sites to retain records and other information used to prepare declarations so that these can be utilised during inspection activities
  • Identify discrepancies in declarations received from national stakeholders before submission to the OPCW
  • Use OPCW tools to identify CWC scheduled chemicals (Handbook on Chemicals, Online Schedule Chemical Database, Most Traded Schedule Chemicals brochure);
  • Use OPCW tools for the preparation and submission of declarations (Declarations Handbook, EDNA and SIX)
  • Reach out to potentially-affected industry and related entities about the CWC and its corresponding obligations
  • Establish inspection guidelines for chemical industry sites that may receive OPCW inspections
  • Keep a record of key contacts for facilities subject to declaration
  • Organise national inspections or technical assistance visits to share CWC expertise, assist with declarations, ensure adequate security measures, and prepare for possible inspections
  • Monitor and analyse chemical industry and trade flows
  • Use all available data to identify declarable activities
  • Train customs officers on the CWC transfers regime of scheduled chemicals
  • Assess and approve new equipment added to the OPCW’s inspection toolkit
  • Respond to requests from the secretariat on issues related to declarations that need clarifications (transfer discrepancies, incomplete declaration, late submission of declarations, submission of amendment to declarations, etc.)
  • Provide to the OPCW annually information that would impact activities such as inspections (e.g., national holidays)
  • Negotiate a bilateral agreement with the OPCW on privileges and immunities

Managing Chemical Threats

Obligations:

  • Adopt the necessary measures to ensure that all toxic chemicals and their precursors are only used for non-prohibited purposes (Article VI, Article XI*)
  • Adopt penal sanctions applicable to natural and legal persons for undertaking any activity prohibited by the Convention (Article VII)
  • Cooperate with other States Parties and afford the appropriate  form of legal assistance to facilitate the implementation of the legal obligations regarding adoption of necessary legal measures (Article VII)
  • Enforce, through trade controls, the transfer regime related to scheduled chemicals (Verification Annex)

Implementation best practices:

  • Carry out a national threat and risk assessment exercise to determine the measures necessary to ensure that toxic chemicals and their precursors are only used for peaceful purposes
  • Implement at the national level measures deemed necessary to ensure the physical security of toxic chemicals, e.g. chemical security regulations, guidelines, or codes of practice
  • Examine national laws to ensure that there are appropriate offences which could be used to prosecute indirect perpetrators of Convention-related crimes at the domestic level
  • Cooperate with other States Parties in investigating incidents involving non-State actors
  • Share with other States Parties information related to cases of developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, retaining, transferring or using chemical weapons by non-State actors, as well as completed domestic investigations related to chemical weapons, including information on criminal or other legal proceedings
  • Monitor and analyse chemical industry and trade flows
  • Put in place and promote the wide adoption of effective chemical safety and security practices at chemical enterprises and share relevant experience with other States Parties
  • Build national laboratory capabilities competent to analyse toxic chemicals and their precursors, including CWC scheduled chemicals
  • If possible, obtain and maintain OPCW laboratory designation
  • Implement programmes for education and training in chemical safety and security directed towards different stakeholders (academia, industry, retailers)
  • Promote the adoption of scientific codes based on The Hague Ethical Guidelines and ensure that CWC-related themes are included in national teaching programmes and syllabuses
  • Increase chemical security awareness among those dealing with toxic chemicals and their precursors, including producers, transporters, distributors, laboratories, etc.
  • Encourage chemical industry to share information about the CWC with customers who might have resulting declaration requirements or who might need to ensure the adequate security of toxic chemicals

Responding to Chemical Emergencies 

Obligations:

  • Provide assistance through the Organisation in one of the following three ways: (Article X)
    • by contributing to the voluntary OPCW fund for assistance, or
    • by concluding with the OPCW an agreement on the provision of assistance on demand, or
    • by declaring the kind of assistance that might be provided in response to an appeal by the organisation.
  • Facilitate the fullest possible exchange of means of protection against CW (Article X)
  • Annually provide information to the Technical Secretariat – in the format adopted by decision C-9/DEC.10, dated 30 November 2004 –on national programmes related to protection against chemical weapons (Article X)

Implementation best practices:

  • Establish and maintain a national programme related to protection against chemical weapons
  • Identify national stakeholders mandated to respond to chemical emergency or attack (e.g. first response agencies, armed forces, etc.) and facilitate inter-agency cooperation
  • Develop and establish national capacity building programmes based on the knowledge and skills obtained from OPCW capacity-building and other international training providers
  • Consult the OPCW’s assistance and protection data bank
  • Strengthen national capacity by implementing a “Training of Trainers” approach
  • Adopt measures to enhance national, regional and sub-regional coordination (such as first-response networks) in cases of chemical attacks or emergencies
  • Make available to the OPCW Technical Secretariat national training programmes that can be offered to other States Parties
  • Build national laboratory capabilities competent to analyse toxic chemicals, including CWC scheduled chemicals, as part of emergency response and investigation
  • Develop and maintain national capabilities for medical management of chemical casualties
  • Offer national training facilities for first responders where OPCW training can be conducted, if available
  • Offer, where available, surplus assistance and protection equipment to the OPCW Technical Secretariat for training purposes
  • Request assistance from the OPCW Technical Secretariat when unable to fulfil the declaration requirements of Article X

Facilitating economic and technological development through chemistry

Obligations:

  • Facilitate the exchange of chemicals, equipment and scientific and technical information related to the peaceful uses of chemistry (Article XI)
  • Not maintain any restrictions which would restrict or impede trade and the development and promotion of scientific and technological knowledge (Article XI)
  • Review existing national regulations in the field of trade in chemicals in order to render them consistent with the object and purpose of the Convention (Article XI)

Implementation best practices: 

  • Provide national training programmes in the fields of analytical chemistry
  • Establish national capacity (in the form of national chemical associations or hubs) for the strengthening of local expertise on technical and scientific issues related to the CWC
  • Participate in the OPCW’s Equipment Exchange Programme
  • Enhance national capabilities for chemical analysis through ensuring relevant laboratories are capable of employing specific analytical techniques and equipment (GC/MS, IR, fume hoods, etc)
  • Support scientific research in the peaceful uses of chemistry
  • Address general and crosscutting issues related to the promotion of the peaceful use of chemistry, including gender mainstreaming and ensuring interaction between the scientific and policy-making communities

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