11/26/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/26/2021 09:21
THE HAGUE, Netherlands-26 November 2021-The Twenty-Third Annual Meeting of National Authorities brought together more than 200 representatives from over 100 Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The online meeting, held from 23 to 26 November, provided National Authorities with an opportunity to exchange views with the OPCW Technical Secretariat on recent developments related to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and to discuss capacity building approaches to chemical security.
The Director-General of the OPCW, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, noted in the opening session: "As the OPCW evolves against the backdrop of a changing security environment, our future priorities will require a range of activities to ensure the Organisation remains fit for purpose as the bulwark against chemical weapons. We will need to continue to strengthen engagement with diverse stakeholders around the globe to effectively prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons." He added: "National Authorities are integral in this respect as they are actively involved in CWC implementation on the ground."
During the meeting, the Secretariat updated the participants on policy-related issues, as well as on its activities in the implementation of the verification regime and highlighted the most important developments within its capacity building programmes. Attendees were briefed on the ongoing construction of the ChemTech Centre - an important upgrade to the OPCW's facilities that will help the Organisation fulfil its mandate and further support Member States in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Participants exchanged views on OPCW's capacity building support related to the development of legislative and regulatory frameworks for chemical security, to chemical security management, and to strengthening response capacities against the use or threat of use of chemical weapons.
The meeting was attended by representatives from all five OPCW regional groups: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC), and Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG).
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention's entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 98% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.