Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based in The Hague, the Netherlands, came into being at the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). States parties to CWC are members of the OPCW. The OPCW Technical Secretariat has a staff of approximately 500, nearly 200 of which are inspectors.
Membership: 192 State Parties, 1 Signatory.
Non-members: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Israel (signatory)and South Sudan..
Financing: All States Parties make contributions to the OPCW budget, based on a modified UN scale of assessments. The total budget for 1998 was 141 million Dutch guilders ($70 million), with roughly 83 million guilders ($41.5 million) allocated for verification. Total annual budgets for 1999 and 2000 were approximately 138 and 133 million guilders ($72 and $62 million), 77 and 69 million guilders ($40.5 and $32 million) of which were allocated for verification. The total budget for 2001 was set at approximately 60 million Euros ($53 million), with 29.5 million Euros ($26 million) of that earmarked for verification. The total budget for 2002 was roughly 62 million Euros ($54.5 million), with 33 million Euros ($29 million) of that allocated for verification. The total budget for 2003 was roughly 68 million Euros ($59 million), with 35.5 million Euros ($29 million) of that allocated for verification. The total budget for 2004 was at roughly 73 million Euros ($60 million), with 36 million Euros ($30 million) of that allocated for verification. The total budget for 2005 was roughly 75 million Euros ($62 million), with 38 million Euros ($31 million) of that allocated for verification. The total budget for 2006 was about 75.6 million Euros ($96 million), with 37 million Euros ($43.7 million) allocated for verification. The total budget for 2007 was set at roughly 75 million Euros ($98.8 million), with 37.5 million Euros ($49.4 million) allocated for verification. The total budget for 2008 was roughly 75 million Euros ($109 million), with about 37.7 million Euros ($55 million) allocated for verification. The total budget for 2009 was about 74.5 million Euros ($96.3 million), with a little over 37 million Euros ($47.8 million) allocated for verification. The total budget for 2010 was roughly 74.5 million Euros ($101.2 million), with 37.4 million Euros ($50.7 million) allocated for verification. The total contribution from States Parties was estimated at approximately 50.3 million Euros ($68 million) for 2011. In December 2011, the 2012 OPCW budget was determined totaling 70.6 million Euros ($95.4 million) of which 33.3 million Euros ($45 million) is for verification costs and 37.2 Euros ($50.2 million) for administrative and other costs.
Conference of the States Parties — The Conference is the OPCW’s principal organ, composed of representatives of all States Parties. A regular session of the Conference is to be held annually unless otherwise decided, and special sessions convened when necessary. The Conference can make decisions on any matters brought to its attention by the Executive Council or any of the States Parties. It elects members of the Executive Council and appoints the director-general. The Conference is responsible for taking measures necessary to ensure compliance and for redressing situations of non-compliance. It has the power to suspend the rights and privileges of States Parties in non-compliance upon the recommendation of the Executive Council, and may recommend collective measures if a State Party engages in activities prohibited by the Convention. In cases of particular gravity, the Conference is to inform the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly.
Executive Council — The Executive Council is the executive organ of the OPCW. Each member has one vote, and the council decides on matters of substance by a two-thirds majority. The national chemical industry and political and security interests are among the factors that determine the composition of the Executive Council. The Council can request States Parties to take measures to redress situations of non-compliance. If the State Party concerned fails to take the requested action, the Council may inform the other States Parties and make recommendations to the Conference. In cases of particular gravity and urgency, the Council is to bring the matter directly to the attention of the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council. The Council can decide by a three-quarters majority to block challenge inspections.
The Council consists of 41 rotating members, representing five regional groupings: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western European and Others Group.
H.E. Ambassador Francisco Azarello Permanent Representative of Italy to the OPCW, is the Chairperson for the 2015-2016 Executive Council. Current Vice-Chairs are the permanent representatives of Kenya, Republic of Korea, Latvia, and Panama.. Membership since 2001 is as follows:
Africa 2016-2017: Algeria, Cameroon, Kenya. Libya, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia;:
2015-2016: Algeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia; 2012-2013: Algeria, Cameroon, Libya, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Sudan; 2010-2011: Algeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia; 2008-2009: Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Libya, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia; 2007-2008: Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Morocco, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia; 2005-2007: Algeria, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Morocco, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia; 2002-2004: Algeria, Benin, Morocco, South Africa; 2001-2003: Botswana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Sudan, Tunisia.
Asia: 2016-2017: China, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Korea, and Saudi Arabia. 2015-2016: China, India, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Korea, and Saudi Arabia; 2012-2013: China, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia; 2010-2011: China, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka; 2008-2009: China, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Kuwait, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka; 2007-2008: China, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand; 2006-2007: China, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand; 2005-2006: China, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka; 2002-2004: Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka; 2001-2003: China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia.
Eastern Europe: 2016-2017: Armenia, Belarus, Coratia, Latvia, and Russian Federation. 2015-2016: Belarus, Croatia, Poland, Russia and Serbia; 2012-2013: Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Russian Federation, Ukraine; 2010-2011: Albania, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, and Ukraine; 2008-2009: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; 2007-2008: Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, the Russian Federation; 2006-2007: Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation; 2005-2006: Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine; 2002-2004: Belarus, Hungary, Russian Federation; 2001-2003: Bulgaria, Croatia.
Latin America and the Caribbean: 2016-2017: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. 2015-2016: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay; 2012-2013: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru; 2010-2011: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, and Uruguay; 2008-2009: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Peru; 2007-2008: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru; 2006-2007: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru; 2005-2006: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay; 2002-2004: Chile, Columbia, Panama, Peru; 2001-2003: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay.
Western Europe and Other States: 2016-2017: Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. 2015-2016: Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. 2012-2013: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America; 2010-2011: Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America; 2008-2009: Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America 2007-2008: Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America; 2006-2007: Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America; 2005-2006: France, Greece, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America; 2002-2004: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Portugal, Turkey; 2001-2003: France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, United States.
Former Chairpersons of the Executive Council since 1997 are as follows:
HH E Ambassador Alvaro Marcelo Moerzinger (2014-2015), Dr Olexandr Horin of Ukraine (2013-2014), Bhaswati Mukherjee of India (2012-2013), Peter Goosen of South Africa (2011-2012), Jean-Francois Blarel of France (2010-2011), Jorge Lomónaco Tonda of Mexico (2009-2010), Oksana Tomová of the Slovak Republic (2008–2009), Romeo A. Arguelles of the Philippines (2007–2008), H.B. Mkhize of South Africa (2006–2007), Alfonso M. Dastis of Spain (2005-2006), José Antonio Arróspide Del Busto of Peru (2004-2005), Petr Kubernát of the Czech Republic (2003-2004), Lionel Fernando of Sri Lanka (2002–2003), Abdel Halim Babu Fatih of Sudan (2001–2002), Mr Bernhard Brasack of Germany (2000-2001), Ambassador Ignacio Pichardo Pagaza of Mexico (1999-2000), Mr Krzysztof Paturej of Poland (1998-1999), Ambassador Prabhakar Menon of India (1997–1998).
Technical Secretariat — The Secretariat carries out the practical work of the OPCW, particularly in the area of verification. It is comprised of the Director-General, who is its head and chief administrative officer; an inspectorate responsible for verification activities; and scientific, technical, administrative, and other support personnel.
On 28 September 2007, the OPCW concluded its eighth ten-week Associate Program. The Associate Program is designed to facilitate the application of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in chemical industry, and to enhance the national capacity in the peaceful uses of chemistry, particularly among those countries whose economies are either developing or in transition. Delegates from Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Malawi, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Uruguay, Yemen and Zambia attended the program. The OPCW Associate Program is an important part of the OPCW’s international cooperation efforts.
Scientific Advisory Board — The Board, composed of independent experts, is established by the Director-General in order to enable him to render specialized advice in areas of science and technology relevant to the Convention to the Conference, Executive Council, or States Parties.
Confidentiality Commission — This group deals with the settlement of disputes relating to confidentiality. The Confidentiality Commission is made up of 20 persons appointed from a list of nominees put forward by the States Parties to the Convention.
Advisory Body on Administrative and Financial Matters — This body focuses on administrative and financial matters. It consists of experts of recognized standing from States Parties.
2015: On 31 January, the OPCW announced that the first of twelve planned Syrian chemical weapons production facilities was completely destroyed and that 98% of declared chemical weapons in Syria have been destroyed.
On 29 January, the OPCW Executive Council opened its 48th meeting. On 4 February, the Executive Council adopted a decision regarding reports of the Fact-Finding Mission in Syria, confirming chlorine use as a weapon in Syria and condemning the use.
On 17-20 March, the OPCW Executive Council held its 78th session. The council adopted a final report and two decisions: one regarding approved data recommended for removal from the OPCW central analytical database, and the other regarding new validated data for inclusion in the OPCW central analytical database.
On 29 April, the Remembrance Day for the Victims of Chemical Warfare, the OPCW Director-General Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü delivered a speech, emphasizing the resolve to achieve a world free of chemical weapons.
On 7 May, the OPCW Executive Council held its 49th meeting. The Council adopted a final report. During the meeting, the OPCW Director-General Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü addressed recent progress on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons.
On 28 May, the OPCW announced that 90% of declared chemical weapons in the world had been verified as destroyed.
On 3-4 June, the 18th International Chemical Weapons Demilitarisation Conference (CWD) was held in London. The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, attended the conference and delivered a statement, addressing current status of chemical disarmament and challenges facing the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Director-General also met with senior UK officials, discussing issues related to the implementation of the CWC.
On 8 June, the 22nd session of the OPCW’s Scientific Advisory Board was held. Deputy Director-General Mrs. Grace Asirwatham delivered an opening statement.
On 8-12 June, an OPCW Executive Council delegation visited China to review the progress on the destruction of Japanese-abandoned chemical weapons. China and Japan provided destruction-related information to the delegation. The delegation also met with Chinese senior officials for discussion on chemical weapons related issues.
On 17 June, the OPCW announced that the disposal of Syrian chemical agents aboard the US vessel Cape Ray was completed and the destruction of the twelve Syrian chemical weapons production facilities is underway.
On 22 June, the OPCW Director-General Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü delivered a speech at the CTBT Science and Technology 2015 Conference held in Vienna. He addressed the importance of verification regimes as well as future challenges facing verification regimes and emphasized the importance of science and technology.
On 7-10 July, the OPCW Executive Council held its 79th session under the chairmanship of Ambassador Francesco Azzarello (Italy). Countries speaking during the session include Myanmar, Nigeria, Iran, Luxembourg, Brazil, Japan, Germany, France, Cuba, Turkey, India, the Republic of Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Ambassador Robert P. Mikulak (US) submitted a working paper regarding facilitator for chemical industry and other Article VI issues. The council adopted three decisions: one regarding the establishment of an OPCW Day, one regarding on-site inspections at a Schedule 1 single small-scale facility in Pakistan, and one regarding the privileges and immunities of the OPCW in Hungary.
On 4 December, the OPCW concluded its 20th session of the Conference of the States Parties. The Conference was chaired by H.E. Ambassador Eduardo Ibarrola-Nicolin of Mexico.
2014: On 7 January, the OPCW announced that the first batch of priority chemicals was removed from Syria. The chemicals were transported from Syria on a Danish ship that left from the port of Latakia. The transfer of chemicals was overseen and verified by the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria after several security-related delays.
On 9 January, Germany confirmed to the OPCW that it will destroy around 370 metric tons of effluent, which will be generated by the hydrolysis of 560 metric tons of Syria’s stockpile of mustard gas on the U.S. ship MV Cape Ray.
On 13-16 January, the OPCW held a workshop on Schedule 1 facilities in Madrid, Spain. The workshop allowed 38 personnel in all 17 Schedule 1 facilities to communicate their experiences, concerns, and best practices.
On 16 January, Italy agreed to allow usage of the port of Gioia Tauro for trans-loading Syrian priority chemicals from the Danish ship it was initially transported on to the U.S. ship the MV Cape Ray.
On 20 January, the OPCW received proposals from 14 private companies in France, UK, China, Russia, Switzerland, Finland, United States, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Belgium to destroy 500 metric tons of Syria’s commodity chemicals, as well as the effluent that will be generated by the hydrolysis process during neutralization of the chemicals. The bids were received in response to a “Call for Proposals for Transport, Treatment and Disposal of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Organic and Inorganic Chemicals, Effluents and Related Materials.”
On 24 January, the OPCW announced that Canada will voluntarily contribute roughly 6.6 million Euros to the Trust Fund for destroying Syria’s chemical weapons, as well as an additional $5 million CAD for neutralization operations on board the U.S. vessel the MV Cape Ray. Prior to Canada’s contribution, Member States have provided 13 million Euros to the Trust Fund for destroying Syria’s Chemical Weapons.
On 31 January, the OPCW Director-General expressed a need for the Syrian authorities and the OPCW-UN Joint Mission to “pick up” the pace with the removal of chemicals from Syria if deadlines are to be met. He also expressed concern that the Syrian government has not yet provided the OCPW with a timeframe for their assistance in the removal of chemicals from their country.
On 4 February, Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdulaziz announced that, as of 26 January 2014, Libya destroyed the rest of the mustard gas that was filled in artillery and bombs. Libya destroyed its bulk mustard in 2013. When Libya joined the CWC in January 2004, they declared their possession of almost 25 metric tons of chemical agents. It will start the destruction process of its chemical precursors soon with an intended deadline to complete the process by December 2016.
On 10 February, the OPCW announced that a third shipment of chemical weapons left Syria on board on a Norwegian cargo vessel that was accompanied by a naval escort from China, Denmark, Norway, and Russia. The UK will be participating in the escort in international waters, while Finland has experts onboard the Danish escort ship.
On 14 February, the OPCW Director-General unveiled the names of the companies awarded contracts in keeping with the Call for Proposals for Transport, Treatment and Disposal of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Organic and Inorganic Chemicals, Effluents and Related Materials. The companies given the contracts were Ekokem OY AB (Finland) and Veolia Environmental Services Technical Solutions, LLC (USA).
On 17 February, the European Union (EU) and OPCW finalized a contract for the donation of €12 million from the EU to finance the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons at commercial facilities outside the country, adding this sum to the €22.7 million donated voluntarily to the Syria Trust fund by OPCW States Parties.
On 25 February, Japan finalized a donation of €13.5 million to the Syria Trust Fund to support the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.
On 26 February, Syria transported a quantity of sulfur mustard, one of the five “priority chemicals” in the states chemical weapons programme, to the port of Latakia to be destroyed at sea aboard a U.S. ship.
On 4 March, the Syrian Republic submitted a revised proposal to the OPCW with the mission of complete removal of chemicals from the country by the end of April 2014. One more shipment of sulfur was moved through Latakia, with a separate quantity of Priority 1 chemicals also planned to arrive at the port, increasing the total number of movements to six thus far. These two shipments bring the total percentage of removed chemicals to 26%, with 23% of Priority 1 and 63% of Priority 2 chemicals moved. The OPCW also verified that Syria had destroyed 93% of its isopropanol. The Director-General declared that all prerequisite materials and equipment for expeditious removal of chemicals had been provided to Syria.
On 7 March, the Executive Council issued a consensus report which “positively noted” the increased speed with which the Syrian chemical stockpile was being depleted, verifying that nearly 29% of chemicals had been removed, but also urging Syria to accelerate its efforts and collaborate with the Joint Mission. Syria once again presented a revised plan for complete removal by 27 April 2014 and the Council asked the Director-General to develop a destruction plan for chemical weapons production structures and to send a Technical Secretariat team of experts to implement said plan.
On 20 March, the OPCW announced that 49.3% (11 shipments) of the Syrian chemical stockpile had been removed from the country. The deadline for completion of this removal was set for 30 June 2014.
From 17-20 March, the OPCW and the Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC) held the 11th Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Seminar in Croatia. Countries in attendance discussed the CWC, Article X implementation, contingency operations, and a Chemical Incident Consequence Management scenario.
From 17-21 March, the OPCW and the National Authority of Chile organized a basic course for specialists on response to chemical warfare. This course was a component of a project in the Latin American and Caribbean region to develop the protective capabilities of State Parties in response to incidents involving toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) and chemical weapons.
From 25-28 March, the OPCW and National Authority of Senegal organized a course on the technical aspects of the transfers regime of the CWC for customs officers. The course took place in Dakar and was attended by a broad range of African countries as part of OPCW’s “Africa Programme”.
From 1-2 April, the OPCW and the UK jointly held the first meeting of National Emergency Coordinators in Bridgetown, Barbados to create a chemical response capacity in the Caribbean Region.
On 4 April, the OPCW confirmed that the 12th shipment of chemicals had left Latakia; the Director-General emphasized the need to expedite the process in terms of both speed and increased volume.
From 6-8 April, the OPCW and the National Authority of Saudi Arabia organized an advanced training course for staff of CWC National Authorities in Asia. A similar regional workshop on Article X of the CWC was held in Indonesia from 8-10 April.
From 7-8 April, the Director-General visited Buenos Aires, Argentina, to meet with various government officials and make a statement at the first-ever regional meeting on Education in the Responsible Application of Knowledge of Dual-Use Chemicals.
From 7-11 April, the CWC National Authority of Costa Rica and the OPCW jointly held an advanced course on response to Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) and Chemical Warfare Agents for specialists in the region in San José.
On 10 April, the OPCW, the National Authority of South Africa, and the Chemical and Allied Industry Association (CAIA) held a regional seminar on Chemical Safety and Security management and the CWC in South Africa.
From 9-10 April, the OPCW Director-General visited Montevideo, Uruguay to give a speech at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and meet with the Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining as well as the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. He discussed the progress on Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) implementation, and was informed by members of the Parliamentary Committee of International Affairs that the Senate of Uruguay had just recently passed additional legislation to ensure the country’s best possible implementation of the Convention.
On 14 April, at the port of Rota in Spain, the OPCW and U.S.A. co-hosted visiting NGOs and international media aboard the MV Cape Ray, the American ship being used to remove the chemical weapons stockpile from Syria through the port of Latakia. In the aim of demonstrating the safety and security measures aboard the ship, Rear Admiral Bob Burke presented to the journalists on the maritime and hydrolysis technology on board the Cape Ray.
Also on 14 April, the OPCW confirmed that the Syrian government had brought the 13th and 14th shipments of chemical weapons to Latakia, these loads being received and immediately boarded on 10 and 13 April, respectively. These raised the total percentage of removed chemicals to 65.1% of total and 57.4% of Priority 1 chemicals.
On 19 April, the OPCW confirmed that approximately 80% of Syria’s chemical weapon stockpile had been removed or destroyed in-country.
From 23-25 April, the OPCW and the People’s Republic of China co-organized a seminar on the CWC and Chemical Safety and Security Management. In attendance were 17 States Parties in the ASEAN and SAARC regions.
On 29 April, the OPCW announced a new mission to investigate facts concerning allegations of chlorine use in Syria. Syria’s government accepted this mission and pledged to provide security in areas that it controls.
From 28 April to 2 May, the OPCW and the Republic of Korea jointly organized the 10th regional assistance-and-protection course for Asian States Parties in Seoul.
From 19-24 May, the OPCW and the Government of Argentina co-organized the Third Advanced Regional Assistance-and-Protection Course on Chemical Emergency Response for States Parties in Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC), which took place in Buenos Aires.
From 20-24 May, the OPCW and the Government of Australia co-organized a sub-regional National Capacity Evaluation and Training Workshop for National Authorities of States Parties in Pacific Island States, providing hands-on training on the CWC.
On 22 May, the OPCW’s Director-General welcomed Syrian authorities’ complete destruction of the declared isopropanol stockpile but underlined the need to quickly and efficiently remove the remaining chemicals so as to begin the destruction process. Nearly 8% of Syria’s declared stockpile, some 100 metric tons of chemicals, remains at a single site due to security concerns in the surrounding area. Technical consultations on the destruction of structures that contained 12 chemical weapons production facilities (CWPFs) are ongoing. The Director-General announced that the OPCW fact-finding mission for chlorine gas allegations in Syria was preparing itself for on-site procedures.
On 27 May, the OPCW and UN mission investigating the alleged chlorine gas attack came under attack while traveling to the site of the alleged attack. All team members survived safe and unscathed after the attack, and the Director-General reiterated the importance of cooperation to ensure the safety of the mission.
On 6 June, the Norwegian ship Taiko departed for Finland and the United States, on its way to deliver the shipment of chemicals designated to be destroyed in those two states. The Danish ship Ark Futura will assume the responsibility for the transportation of the remaining 8% of chemicals.
On 17 June, the OPCW’s fact finding mission was unable to visit Kafr Zeta, location of a potential CW attack in northern Syria, due to security issues, but nonetheless determines that chlorine gas was used in earlier attacks.
On 23 June, OPCW Director General Uzumcu announced the removal of the last 8% of Syria’s chemical weapons, shipped from the port of Latakia on the Danish ship Ark Futura, and further states these chemicals will be destroyed within four months.
On 2 July, 600 metric tons of chemical weapons were loaded onto the Cape Ray at the Italian Gioia Tauro port.
On 21 July, the OPCW announced ~32% of the chemical weapons stockpiles has been destroyed and that all chemical weapons have reached facilities for destruction in Finland, the United States, the United Kingdom, or the Cape Ray.
On July 24, the OPCW announced the destruction of seven Syrian hangars used as part of the country’s chemical weapons program, and an additional five bunkers will be permanently sealed.
On 13 August, the OPCW announced 581 metric tons of a sarin gas precursor chemical was neutralized on the Cape Ray, and that operation would begin to neutralize sulfur mustard.
On 19 August, the Cape Ray finished the destruction of 600 metric tons of Syrian chemical weapons and precursor chemicals. The OPCW announced that the Cape Ray would next transport the effluent (waste existing a chemical reactor) to Finland and Germany for disposal in land-based facilities.
On 28 August, the OPCW announced that 94% of the total Syrian stockpile is destroyed, and 100% of all Category I chemicals declared by Syria are verified as destroyed. This includes 1,040 tons of chemicals.
On 10 September, the OPCW fact-finding mission reported “compelling confirmation” that chlorine gas was used as a chemical weapon in Syria, stating that descriptions of witness, physical properties, behavior of the gas, and signs and symptoms resulting from exposure were consistent with the use of chlorine gas. The Director-General asked the fact-finding mission to continue its work in answer to allegations in August of further use.
On 30 September, the OPCW-UN Join Mission on the elimination of Syrian chemical successfully weapons fulfilled its mandate and completed its operations in Syria. Further clarification on the Syrian declaration and destruction of chemical weapons productions facilities will be continued by the OPCW mission in Syria.
On 5 December, the OPCW concluded its 19th Session of the Conference of the States Parties. The conference was composed of 132 States Parties in addition to a number of NGOs and specialized agencies. The conference report indicated the status of implementation of the CWC.
From 8 to 19 April, the Third Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention was held at the World Forum in The Hague. The conference concluded with the successful adoption by consensus of a two-part final document. The political declaration confirms the commitment of the States Parties to the ban on chemical weapons. The second part included a comprehensive review of CWC implementation since the 2008 Review Conference and priorities in preparation for the next Review Conference.
On 22 and 23 April, the OPCW co-organized two workshops in the Angolan capital of Luanda designed to support Angola’s accession to the CWC and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. The Foreign Affairs Minister confirmed Angola’s intention to accede to both conventions.
On 6 May Libya completed the destruction of its sulfur mustard agent. This brings the total amount of Category 1 chemical weapons destroyed by Libya to 22.3 metric tons, nearly 85% of Libya’s declared stock. Libya has also completed destruction of its remaining Category 3 weapons.
On 14 September, Syria declared that it will join the OPCW and have its chemical weapons destroyed.
On 27 September, the OPCW Executive Council adopted a decision on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. In addition, the UN Security Council endorsed the expeditious destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons programme.
On 1 October, an OPCW-UN advance team arrived in Damascus to begin the process of overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons programme. The team consists of 19 OPCW inspectors and 14 UN staff members. Upon arrival, the team established a logistics base for this work. The deadline for the entire elimination of the chemical weapons stockpile is the first half of 2014.
On 6 October, the process to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons began under the supervision of experts from the OPCW, supported by the United Nations. A team of international inspectors from the OPCW-UN will verify and report on Syria’s compliance with international demands,
On 8 October, the OPCW announced that it will deploy a second team of inspectors to Syria to assist the first team of experts in the verification and destruction of chemical weapons. Furthermore, the Director-General stated that he will sign a supplementary agreement between the OPCW and the UN to facilitate the provision of security and field and logistics support by the UN for the joint OPCW-UN mission.
On 11 October, the second group of OPCW inspectors and more UN staff arrived in Damascus. The team is now in the process of verifying the information given to them by the Syrian government.
On 11 October, the OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for its efforts in the dismantling and destroying of Syria’s chemical weapons. The Director-General of the OPCW made a statement in honor of this event. The DG thanked States Parties for their support and efforts and expressed his hopes in continuing the work of the OPCW.
On 14 October, Syria’s accession to the CWC entered into force. It is the 190th State Party to join the treaty.
On 16 October, the OPCW-UN Joint Mission was established to allow for close consultations between the Director-General of the OPCW and the Secretary-General of the UN. The special coordinator of this joint mission is Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands.
On 27 October, Syria submitted its initial declaration and general plan for the destruction of its chemical weapons programme. This would provide a basis for a well-planned systematic, total and verifiable destruction of the chemical weapons. The first monthly report of the Joint Mission has been submitted to the States parties and forwarded for submission to the UN Security Council.
On 28 October, the Joint Mission announced verification activities at 21 out of 23 chemical weapon-related sites as declared by Syria.
On 31 October, the OPCW-UN Joint Mission confirmed that the Syrian government has completed the functional destruction of critical equipment for all of its declared chemical weapons production facilities. The Mission inspected 22 of the 23 sites and 39 of the 41 facilities located in those sites.
On 7 November, the OPCW-UN team overseeing the destruction of Syria’s weapons stockpiles confirmed the verification of 22 of the 23 sites disclosed by Damascus. All verification was done with the support of sealed cameras used by Syrian personnel as per the inspection team’s guidance.
On 15 November, the OPCW adopted a plan for destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons programme in the first half of 2014. The plan would provide a clear roadmap to set milestones to be met by Syria. According to the plan, the most critical chemicals would be transported out of Syria by 15 December 2013 with all declared chemicals to be out of Syria by 05 February 2014. The declared facilities will undergo destruction from 15 December 2013 to 15 March 2014. In regards to activities outside Syria, the destruction of the priority chemical weapons will be completed by 31 March 2014 and other declared chemical materials by 30 June 2014. Furthermore, the Syrian government has a mandate to destroy all unfilled munitions by 31 January 2014.
On 2 December, the Eighteenth Session of the Conference of States Parties commenced in The Hague under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Dr. Sa’ad Abdul Majeed Ibrahim Al-Ali of Iraq. Several States Parties made statements discussing the universality of the treaty as well as the verification of the treaty. Most countries also commented on the accession of Somalia and Syria and hoped that the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons would continue to take place in a timely fashion. Additionally, Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu was re-appointed for a second term as OPCW Director-General.
On 5 December, the Islamic Republic of Iran was unanimously elected at the Eighteenth Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Executive Council of the OPCW.
On 11 December, the OPWC Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu held official meetings with Norwegian Ministers and Parliamentarians. The Director-General and the Norwegian Ministers discussed how Norway could be involved in efforts to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons. Norway has supported the OPCW-UN Mission in Syria through a voluntary contribution to the Trust Fund for Destruction and through an offer for maritime assistance.
On 14 December, the OPCW Director-General met with Prime Minister Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Carl Bildt of Sweden. They discussed detailed plans of the removal and destruction of Syrian chemicals.
On 18 December, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu submitted a plan for destroying Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal outside of the country to the OCPW Executive Council. This plan intends to meet prior deadlines set by the Council to destroy Syria’s priority chemicals by 31 March 2014 and other (mostly commodity) chemicals by 30 June 2014.
On 17-19 January, the OPCW sent inspectors to Libya to verify chemical weapons stockpiles that were disclosed after the fall of the Qadhafi regime. Libya must now present a comprehensive plan and date for the destruction of the stockpiles.
On 26 January, the Technical Secretariat conducted a briefing for OPCW Permanent Representations in Brussels. The briefing included details on the legal framework required for the national implementation of the CWC, and on the international assistance provided by the OPCW to assist states in capacity building to improve their implementation of the CWC.
On 1 March, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Director-General Üzümcü updated the Secretary-General on the status of undeclared stockpiles of mustard agent found in Libya, and noted with concern the possibility of chemical weapons in Syria.
On 23 March, the OPCW Executive Council and Director-General met with officials in Moscow concerning issues related to the CWC. The delegation also toured a new chemical weapons destruction facility being built at Kizner, Udmurtia oblast. The Russian Federation has destroyed more than 60% of its stockpiles, according to the Kremlin. This is faster than initially expected.
In March, OPCW inspectors inspected their 1,000th “Other Chemical Production Facilities” (OCPFs) site as classified under Article VI of the CWC. The 1000th site inspection was conducted at an industrial plant in France.
From 16-19 April, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) met in its 18th session at OPCW headquarters. The SAB discussed scientific and technological elements of verification methodologies, emerging technologies and new equipment, and Scheduled chemicals and the Annex on Chemicals. The Board also began work in preparation for the Third Review Conference to be held in April 2013.
From 16-20 April, the OPCW held the first “Advanced Regional Assistance-and-Protection Course on Chemical Emergency Response” for States Parties in Latin America and the Caribbean in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
On 24 April, Canada made a voluntary contribution to support efforts of the Libyan Government to resume and complete the destruction of its remaining stockpile of chemical weapons, the largest-ever donation to the OPCW.
On 8 May, OPCW Director General Ahmet Üzümcü delivered a keynote address at the seminar on the CWC and Chemical-Safety-and-Security Management for Member States in the Southeast and South Asia region in Putrajaya, Malaysia. He noted the seminar’s importance in helping to ensure that small- and medium-sized chemical facilities in Southeast and South Asia continue to operate in a safe environment.
On 22 May, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü addressed the 15th and final international Chemical Weapons Demilitarisation (CWD) Conference, hosted by the United Kingdom’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. This event marked the passing of the 29 April 2012 deadline for possessors of chemical weapons to eliminate their stockpiles, and celebrated the global progress in chemical weapons destruction.
In June, the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) for preparation of the Third Review Conference of the States Parties of the Chemical Weapons Convention to review the operation of the Convention held its first meeting.
On 2 October, a high-level meeting was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York commemorating the 15th anniversary of the OPCW. The meeting was designed to renew the commitment of the international community to the Convention’s aims and objectives.
On 26 to 30 November, the 17th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CSP-17) was held in The Hague.
2011: The 16th Session of the Conference of the States Parties took place on 4-7 October.
On 21-22 February, the advisory panel of independent experts on the future priorities of the OPCW held its second meeting in The Hague. The panel was chaired by Ambassador Rolf Ekeus of Sweden and discussions covered issues related to the future activities of the OPCW, including the international security environment, advances in science and technology, advances in the chemical industry, and the broad range of OPCW activities. The panel will meet for a third meeting in June of this year and will submit a final report to the Director-General and OPCW member states.
On 28 February through 4 March, an OPCW Executive Council delegation visited the United States’ Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant in Colorado and the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Utah. The visit was pursuant to the decision made at the 11th Session of the Conference of States Parties to visit chemical weapon destruction facilities in order to “consider progress and efforts towards achieving complete destruction in accordance with the provision of the Convention, and any measures being taken to overcome possible problems in a destruction program.” In December 2006, the United States extended its deadline for the complete destruction of its Category 1 chemical weapons to 29 April 2012, and 84.29% of the declared stockpiles have been destroyed.
The delegation also held discussions in Washington, D.C. with Senator Richard Lugar, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher and the Senior Director for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, National Security Staff Dr. George Look.
On 11 March, in light of ongoing unrest in Libya, the OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü spoke with the Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya with regards to the physical security of the remaining chemical weapons awaiting destruction. The Permanent Representative reiterated that according to the information from Tripoli, the situation was unchanged and under control.
U.S. media reported that as of 5 May, the stockpile of chemical warfare materials at the Umatilla Chemical Depot in Oregon had been reduced to 1,000 bulk containers filled with mustard blister agent. These represent 38 percent of the initial mustard stockpile at Umatilla.
Over 99 percent of the site's arsenal, including all nerve agents, has been destroyed. The remaining containers are being processed steadily, and total destruction of all chemical agents will likely be complete in November.
On 13 April, the OPCW hosted the 2nd General Meeting of Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition at the Technical Secretariat. NGOs from 14 different countries attended the meeting along with delegates from six State Parties to the Convention. Representatives from NGOs had an opportunity to also attend a 2-day seminar on the OPCW’s Contribution to Security and Nonproliferation of Chemical Weapons. The meeting addressed the necessity of promoting the universality and implementation of the Convention and of improving internal communication, and it discussed the Coalition’s 2011 work plan. Ahmet Üzümcü, the OPCW Director-General, took the opportunity to speak of the future challenges presented to the Organization regarding the enforcement of the CWC.
As of 20 April, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had conducted 2,000 inspections of chemical industry facilities. The organization is authorized to inspect 4,913 industrial sites spread among its 188 member states. It has also conducted more than 4,000 inspections of roughly 200 chemical weapon-related sites.
On 9 May, Ambassador Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Brahim Khilil, the new Permanent Representative of Mauritania to the OPCW, made an announcement to the Organization that Mauritania has established a National Authority to implement the CWC. In addition, he asked the Organization to assist the National Authority in meeting its obligations. The Director-General of the OPCW, Ahmet Üzümcü, agreed to provide the necessary support.
On 2 June, Russia announced that it has pushed back the date for eliminating its entire arsenal of chemical warfare agents to December 31, 2015. The CWC calls for Russia to destroy its chemical stockpile by April 2012, but last year Moscow declared that the process would be completed at an unidentified point in 2015. Russia will not be penalized for its delay, since the United States has also set itself a new deadline of 2021.
On 29 June Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü commemorated the attack on the city of Sardasht in 1987. He emphasized the importance of ridding “our world permanently from the threat of chemical weapons.”
On 13 July the Technical Secretariat validated a Cultural Committee to coordinate art galleries and cultural events that will take place in the common space of the OPCW building in The Hague. The committee will consider requests from all the delegations to display their preferred art pieces. At the moment the Delegation of Hungary has been approved to exhibit the works of a prominent photographer, whose work will be shown throughout the Executive Council session.
On 28 September, Libyan sources informed the OPCW that measures to control stockpiles of seized chemical weapons were being undertaken. The stocks were previously declared by the former Qadhafi regime in compliance with the CWC.
On 27 October, the OPCW conducted an exercise to test its readiness to conduct a short notice inspection of a State Party to the CWC. Independent evaluators were on site to conduct an assessment of the exercise.
On 4 November, the OPCW dispatched an inspection team to Libya to determine whether any diversion of sulfur mustard agent or precursor chemicals had taken place. Upon investigation, the inspection team confirmed that the full stockpile remained intact.
On 23 November, the OPCW and Government of Singapore jointly organized the 2nd Regional Training Course on Emergency Response to Chemical Incidents for Asian states parties to the CWC. The agenda ranged from a basic introduction to protective equipment for use against toxic chemicals to monitoring, detection, and decontamination techniques. Eighteen States Parties attended the training exercise.
On 28 November to 2 December, the 16th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention took place. Libya, the Russian Federation, and the United States notified the OPCW that they will not meet the April 2012 deadline laid out in the Chemical Weapons Convention for the destruction of declared chemical weapons. The countries remain committed to the destruction of the stockpiles, and the deadline has been extended. Chemical industrial inspections now have new policy guidelines for determining the number of inspections. The new policy allows for gradual scaling from the current 209 yearly inspections to 241 yearly inspections in 2014. Inspections will also employ a revised selection method which targets facilities that are of most concern to the convention. Finally, the Conference adopted a decision on an agreed framework for implementing Article XI, and calls upon the Executive Council to explore additional measures to fully implement Article XI provisions.
On 5 December, the OPCW signed a bilateral agreement on the procurement of assistance with Peru. The agreement outlines the type of assistance that Peru can offer through the OPCW. Specifically, it states that Peru, if requested, can supply up to 3 emergency response teams of varying specialties in the event that a State Party to the CWC requests assistance against the use, or threatened use, of chemical weapons.
2010: On 14-15 December, a new advisory panel on the future priorities of the OPCW convened for a first meeting in The Hague. The meeting, chaired by Ambassador Rolf Ekeus of Sweden, will convene several more times in the following year to produce a final report. Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü announced the creation of the panel at the 15th Session of the Conference of State Parties.
The 15th Session of the Conference of the States Parties took place from 29 November-3 December in The Hague. Ambassador Julio Roberto Palomo Silva of Guatemala served as Chairperson, while Ambassador Vaidotas Verba of Lithuania served as Chairperson of the Committee of the Whole. Representatives from Bolivia, Chile, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the United States served as Vice-Chairpersons. At the Conference, OPCW Director General Ahmet Üzümcü announced that 63% of the world’s declared amounts of chemical warfare materials had been eliminated through the CWC implementation. The director general also called on States Parties to continue their efforts to meet the April 2012 deadline for the destruction of chemical weapon stockpiles. However, the conference recommended that the OPCW Executive Council maintain informal discussions on meeting the final deadline. The Conference also decided to grant Libya an extension of the intermediate deadline for the destruction of its Category 1 chemical weapons. The Conference also elected 21 Member States to the Executive Council for a term of two years starting on 12 May 2011. These Member States included: Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea (Republic of), Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, and the United States.
From 7-9 December, the OPCW held a regional training course in Doha, Qatar, for representatives of States Parties in Asia who are involved in fulfilling Article VI declaration requirements of the CWC. More than 40 participants from 25 States Parties participated in the event. The event sought to determine how the OPCW could further help States identify declarable Article VI activities and included educational tools such as table top exercises and lectures.
On October 12-13, OPCW Director General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü addressed the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee and met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Director General Ahmet Üzümcü spoke of the progress on global eradication of chemical weapons, and the importance of universal acceptance of the Convention and support provided to CWC States Parties to enable implementation of all obligations under the Convention.
On 22-23 November, the OPCW hosted a Preparatory meeting table-top exercise on the preparedness to prevent terrorist attacks. Fifty participants from OPCW member states attended the exercise.
2009: On 30 November-4 December, the 14th Session of the Conference of State Parties convened. In attendance were 122 of the 188 States Parties to the CWC, Israel and Myanmar as signatory observers, 8 IGOs, and 30 NGOs and chemical industry associations. Ambassador Vauditas Verba of Lithuania was elected chairperson.
In the Conference’s final report, the Conference noted a report from the Technical Secretariat on the status of implementation of Article VII obligations, pursuant to a decision made at the 13th Session.
The Conference also considered a report made by the Director-General on the progress made by States Parties that were granted extensions of deadlines for their Category 1 chemical weapons at the 11th Session. It was noted with concern that the final deadline of 29 April 2012 may not be fully met. As of 1 December 2009, over 48% of chemical weapons stockpiles remain to be destroyed. A decision was adopted to extend the intermediate and final deadlines for the destruction of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya of its Category 1 chemical weapons.
Also, the Conference adopted a decision on the universality of the Convention and the further implementation of the universality action plan.
Finally, the Conference appointed Mr. Ahmet Üzümcü as the Director-General of the Technical Secretariat for a term of office beginning 25 July 2010 through 24 July 2014.
2008: The Third Special Session of the Conference of States Parties was convened on 7 April to amend the Rules of Procedure so that the chairmanship of special sessions would rotate on a geographically equitable basis.
The 13th Session of the Conference of States Parties took place from 2-5 December, with 126 States Parties participating. Israel participated as a signatory observer, and Iraq and Lebanon participated as non-signatory observers. The Conference failed to adopt a final report as consensus could not be reached on text regarding the progress made by States Parties that have been granted extensions of deadlines for destroying chemical weapons.
A decision was adopted for the Technical Secretariat to provide an annual report on the status of implementation of Article VII obligations to the Executive Council. The decision also requested that the Council submit this report to the 14th Session of the Conference.
2007: The 12th Session of the Conference of States took place 5-9 November. It was chaired by Abuelgasim Abdelwahid Sheikh Idris, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Sudan to the OPCW.
The Conference approved the OPCW’s Programme and Budget for 2008. It was the third consecutive year that the OPCW has agreed to a zero nominal growth budget.
It adopted a decision to continue with the Action Plan on the Universality of the Convention and made plans for the 14th Session to review the results and implementation of this Action Plan.
The Conference also elected 20 new members of the 41-member OPCW Executive Council for a two-year term that started on 12 May 2008.
2006: The 11th Session of the Conference of States Parties took place 5-8 December. The session was chaired by Ambassador Alfonso Dastis of Spain.
Based on recommendations of the Executive Council, the Conference approved requests by State Parties Albania, India, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America to extend interim and final deadlines for destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles.
The Conference approved a decision establishing a mechanism to encourage States Parties that are in arrears of their dues to pay their outstanding contributions. The Conference amended a decision made at a Special Session of the Conference in 2003 regarding the tenure policy of the organization.
The Conference adopted a decision regarding the implementation of an action plan aimed at achieving universality of the convention. In accordance with an Executive Council recommendation, the Conference extended the work of the Open Ended Working Group for the establishment of an OPCW Office in Africa.
The Second Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention convened 7-18 April 2008 to review the activities and implementation of the convention since its entry into force. In preparation for this event, the OPCW and a specially designated working group reviewed the CWC and its implementation to date.
2005: On 7-11 November, the 10th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention took place. The session was chaired by Jose Antonio Arróspide from Peru. The Conference unanimously approved the renewed appointment of Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter as Director-General of the OPCW.
The Conference urged all states and the Secretariat to intensify their universality-related efforts with a view to increasing the number of States Parties to at least 180 by the end of 2006 and to achieving the universality of the convention 10 years after its entry into force. The Conference decided to continue with the action plan and to review progress of that plan at its Eleventh and Twelfth Sessions.
The Conference also recommended that the Executive Council at one of its sessions establish an open-ended working group to begin, in cooperation with the Secretariat, preparations for the Second Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which took place in April 2008.
The Conference also recommended to the Executive Council the establishment of an ad hoc, open-ended working group to examine a proposal to establish an OPCW office in Africa.
The Conference endorsed a proposal for the establishment of a Day of Remembrance of all victims of chemical warfare to be observed each year on 29 April, the anniversary of the entry into force of the CWC. The Conference also endorsed the dedication in The Hague of a permanent memorial to these victims.
2004: The 9th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention took place from 29 November to 2 December. The session was chaired by Krzysztof Paturej of Poland. In addition to its 120 members, the Conference also included five international organizations, specialized agencies, and other international bodies for the purpose of consultation. Signatory states Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Honduras, and Israel also participated. Iraq was admitted as an observer.
Conference discussion was based on recommendations represented in the report of the Executive Council of its activities between 28 June 2003 and 2 July 2004.
The Conference considered and adopted the Executive Council recommendation on the inclusion of an additional item on the list of approved equipment (C-9/ Dec.5). The Conference determined that the device, an environmental temperature logger, is essential to the safe maintenance of medical kits and laboratory work.
Participants also considered and adopted a recommendation to clarify the concept of “captive use” as it pertains to declarations of production and/or consumption of chemicals (C-9/Dec.6). The clarification, which defines the conditions under which certain chemicals may be produced and disposed, seeks to better enable the convention to meet its obligations of verification as listed in the Verification Annex to the convention.
The Conference further decided in favor of granting extensions to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Albania in their effort to destroy Category 1 chemical weapons stockpiles. The Conference also granted a request by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to convert chemical weapons facilities for purposes not listed by the convention but found to be consistent with its tenants.
Before closing the session, the Conference elected 21 members to serve on the Executive Council for a new two-year term. They also considered and adopted the 2005 budget plan. Finally, the Conference underlined the importance of international cooperation in the field of chemical activities. International cooperation and assistance activities, the Conference noted, encourage and expedite concrete proposals and are considered a core objective of the organization.
2003: The 8th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention was convened from 20-24 October 2003. The Eighth Session of the Conference was chaired by Ambassador Noureddine Djoudi of Algeria. Delegations from 116 member states (including the contracting states Kyrgyzstan and Cape Verde) attended the Conference. Chad, Iraq, Israel and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya participated in the Conference as observer states.
The Conference noted the report of the Executive Council on the performance of its activities from 17 July 2002 to 27 June 2003. Ambassador Petr Kubernat of the Czech Republic introduced the report and the recommendations of the Council that required the attention of the Council. The following is a list of considerations made by the Conference in accordance with the recommendations made by the Council:
- Considered and adopted a decision on a request by the Russian Federation for an extension of the intermediate and final deadlines for the destruction of its Category 1 chemical weapons.
- Considered and adopted a decision on a request by a State Party for an extension of the intermediate deadline for the destruction of its Category 1 chemical weapons stockpiles.
- Considered and adopted a decision on a request by the United States for an extension of the intermediate and final deadlines for the destruction of its Category 1 chemical weapons
2002: On 25 July, the First Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties reconvened to consider and to make a decision on the recommendation of the Executive Council to appoint Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter of Argentina as the Director-General of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW. The Conference of the States Parties appointed Ambassador Pfirter by acclamation. The new Director-General's four-year term of office commenced immediately upon his appointment. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Pfirter, a lawyer and a career diplomat, was the Under-Secretary for Foreign Policy in the Ministry of External Relations, International Trade and Worship, Argentina.
The 7th Session of the Conference of States Parties was held from 7-11 October in The Hague. The Conference, attended by 109 States Parties, adopted the 2003 OPCW’s program of work and budget. The 2003 OPCW budget was increased, for the first time in four years, by around 10 percent, resulting in a significant increase in Verification and International Cooperation and Assistance Programs. The Conference adopted a number of other policy decisions including a decision to grant an extension of the Russian Federation’s obligation to meet two of the Convention’s intermediate deadlines for the destruction of one percent and of 20 percent of its Category 1 chemical weapons stockpiles; a decision to grant an extension of another State Party’s obligation to meet the Convention’s timeline of April 2003 for the destruction of 20 percent of its chemical weapons stockpile; the adoption of requests for the conversion of nine former chemical weapons production facilities at Volgograd and Novocheboksarsk in the Russian Federation to peaceful purposes; a decision on guidelines for declarations of aggregate national data for the production, consumption, import, and export of Schedule 2 chemicals and for import and export of Schedule 3 chemicals.
The Conference also elected 21 new members to the 41-member Executive Council for a two-year term, which commenced on 12 May 2003. The Conference agreed that the First Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention would be held in The Hague from 28 April-9 May 2003.
2001: The 6th Session of the Conference of the States Parties was held from 14-18 May in The Hague. The Conference was attended by 108 States Parties with Ambassador H. Reimann of Switzerland serving as the chair of the Conference. Since the Fifth Session, 10 new States Parties had joined the Organization, and the full program of work for 2000 had been completed. Inventory had been taken of all 70,000 tons of declared chemical weapons, nearly 20 percent of the declared munitions and containers had been destroyed, and more than half of the declared chemical weapons production facilities world-wide had been certifiably destroyed or converted to peaceful purposes. The OPCW’s Director-General, José M. Bustani, announced that the implementation of the Convention was working smoothly. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, praised the progress of the OPCW in implementing the Convention’s provisions, and expanding its activities. He called attention to the importance of garnering the full support of States Parties for the OPCW, especially to provide the necessary resources.
The most important decisions adopted by this session of the Conference were the program of work and budget for 2002, and a request from the Russian Federation for the conversion of a former chemical weapons production facility in Dzerzhinsk for peaceful purposes. The necessity of attaining the universality of the CWC was also endorsed. In addition, the Conference approved the relationship agreement with the United Nations, which had been signed at UN Headquarters in New York on 17 October 2000. The agreement was submitted to the UN General Assembly for approval in its 2001 session. The relationship agreement provides an opportunity for more intensive cooperation between the two organizations in areas of common interest, especially in the area of disarmament.
The Conference adopted a decision on the transfer of Schedule 3 chemicals to states that are not party to the Convention. This decision requires that end-use certificates be prepared when Schedule 3 chemicals are exported to states not party to the CWC, if the product to be exported contains 30 percent or more of a Schedule 3 chemical. An end-use certificate is not required for products identified as consumer goods packaged for commercial or individual purposes. Also prohibited is the re-transfer of Schedule 3 chemicals by the receiving states.
In regard to the budget, the Conference examined the cause of the Organization’s inability to collect the full amount of its budgeted income in 2000 and 2001. It requested that the Executive Council determine a solution for the structural deficiencies in the budget. As an exceptional one-time measure, the Conference authorized the Secretariat to retain the 1999 cash surplus, instead of redistributing it to States Parties. The Conference also called for voluntary contributions, to ensure that sufficient resources would be available to the OPCW to effectively carry out its operational mandate. In spite of the Organization’s funding problems, Mr. Bustani reiterated his intention to enhance program delivery, particularly in the areas of international cooperation and inspections. In addition, he praised the Conference’s recognition that operational activities would increase significantly in the coming few years.
2000: The OPCW stated on 25 January that the world’s declared stockpiles of 70,000 tons of chemical weapons and more than eight million munitions and bulk containers had been inspected by OPCW inspectors, and were subject to a stringent international verification regime. Three of the four countries that had declared possession of chemical weapons were now actively destroying them under the continuous scrutiny of OPCW monitoring teams. All of the 60 declared chemical weapons production facilities around the world had been inspected and sealed. Of these, 20 had been certified as destroyed, and five had been approved for conversion to peaceful purposes. To prevent the proliferation of chemical weapons, a stringent industrial verification regime had been put in place, involving inspections of facilities that produce or consume “dual-use” chemicals that could be used for both peaceful purposes and to create chemical weapons. By 11 May, more than 4,000 tons of chemical agents had been destroyed. Over a million chemical bombs, shells, and rockets had been destroyed. OPCW staff had made more than 700 inspections in 35 countries, including 460 visits to weapons storage and destruction sites and over 240 inspections of industrial chemical plants since the entry into force of the Convention. The Organization’s routine verification activities gave no indication that States Parties were not in full compliance with their fundamental obligations under the CWC, notwithstanding certain implementation-related inconsistencies and technicalities, which continued to occur. However, they were being addressed and corrected. To sum up, there was at the time no evidence to suggest that the essence of the CWC was not being upheld.
The 5th Session of the Conference of States Parties held in The Hague from 15-19 May reappointed the Director-General of the OPCW Mr. José Bustani for a second term of four years starting 13 May 2001. The OPCW reported considerable success in efforts to ban the production, stockpiling, or use of chemical weapons. More than 4,000 tons of chemical agents and over a million chemical bombs, shells, and rockets had been destroyed. OPCW staff had made more than 700 inspections in 35 countries, including 460 visits to weapons storage and destruction sites and over 240 inspections of industrial chemical plants. The Conference also recommended extending the deadline for Russia to destroy one percent of its chemical weapons. The Conference also approved a number of requests from Russia and the United Kingdom for the conversion of former chemical weapons production facilities to peaceful purposes. Delegates also welcomed two new members to the OPCW, Malaysia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which joined the organization on 20 May.
In October, the OPCW signed a relationship agreement with the UN. Both organizations undertook, inter alia, to explore possibilities for cooperation in the provision of assistance if chemical weapons are used in the future. The agreement addresses the fostering of international cooperation in relation to the peaceful use of chemistry, and will thus contribute to economic and technological development. The CWC is among the 25 multilateral treaties identified by the UNSG as core treaties for the new millennium. The signing of this relationship agreement is accordingly expected to initiate a significant enhancement and intensification of the everyday relationship between the two organizations in the pursuit of their shared goals of enhanced security and peace.
2014: On 26 September the Executive Council meets to discuss the second report of the fact-finding mission in Syria which reports the definitive use of chlorine gas as a chemical weapon in that country.
2013: The 71st Executive Council convened on 19-22 February. The 72nd meeting of the Executive Council will be 6-8 May.
2012: The 67th Session of the Executive Council took place on 14-17 February.
The 68th Session met from 1-4 May. The Council recalled that, at its Sixteenth Session, the Conference of the States Parties adopted a decision on the final extended deadline of 29 April 2012 and expressed its concern regarding the Director-General’s statement in his report that “the three possessor States Parties, namely Libya, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America, have been unable to fully meet the final extended deadline of 29 April 2012 for the destruction of their chemical weapons stockpiles”. In addition they discussed the status of implementation of Article XI, facility agreements, the Technical Secretariat’s verification activities, destruction-related activities of Possessor States and implementation of the Conference of the States Parties and Executive Council’s decision on destruction/deadline related issues.
The 69th Session was held 10-13 July and the 70th was convened 25-28 September.
2011: The 63rd Session of the Executive Council convened on 15-18 February.
The Executive Council met from 3 to 6 May 2011, and expressed its concern over the remaining chemical weapons stockpiles in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The council expressed particular concern over the stockpiles’ security and their destruction within the established deadlines.
In his opening statement at the Executive Council, Director-General Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü affirmed that he reminded the Libyan Government of its international obligation to meet its chemical weapons destruction deadline. The Council expressed support for the actions being undertaken by the Director-General in view of the situation.
The Executive Council noted the assurances given by the Libyan representative and urged Libya to ensure the security of the stockpiles and their destruction within the established deadlines.
On 4 May, the Executive Council of the OPCW expressed concern about the protections surrounding a cache of Libyan mustard blister agent and about the Libyan government’s plans to destroy the material as previously promised. While noting the assurances given by the Libyan representative, the Executive Council urged Libya to ensure the security of the chemical weapons stockpiles and their destruction within the established deadlines. Tripoli is required to complete destruction of the mustard stock by 15 May and destruction of the precursor material by 31 December.
From 12-15 July the 65th Session of the Executive Council of the OPCW took place in The Hague. On the third day of the session, the delegation of China made a statement concerning meeting the final extended deadline for chemical weapon destruction. One point that was especially stressed in the statement was the removal of abandoned Japanese ACWs by the extended deadline of 29 April 2011. Ambassador Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador to the Netherlands, also highlighted the crucial need for the abolishment of all chemical weapons by the indicated deadline. He specifically referred to the United States and Russia as the countries with the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons.
2010: The 59th session of the Executive Council was held on 23-26 February.
In an opening statement, Director General of the OPCW Rogelio Pfirter discussed the latest developments in multiple program areas, including chemical demilitarization and verification, old and abandoned chemical weapons, declarations and timely submissions, nonproliferation and industry inspections and international cooperation and assistance. The opening statement also covered internal matters such as financial issues, budgeting, and implementation of a tenure policy.
The 60th Session of the Executive Council convened on April 20-23 chaired by Mexican Ambassador Jorge Lomonaco Tonda.
Director General Rogelio Pfirter issued a note to the Executive Council on the Implementation of the Tenure Policy, noting the tenure policy would have no impact on the criteria for staff appointments.
The Council considered universality of the CWC, old and abandoned chemical weapons issues, the 2012 deadline for the elimination of all chemical weapons globally and the implementation of Article XI.
On 29 June – 2 July, the 61st Session of the Executive Council assembled, led by Chairperson Jean-Francois Blarel, the Permanent Representative of France.
In an opening statement Director General Rogelio Pfirter informed that the total amount of Category 1 and Category 2 chemical weapons destroyed by possessor States had reached 59.72% and 52.09% respectively and encouraged further developments along this track.
Old and abandoned chemical weapons issues were discussed and it was announced Japan and China finalized a detailed plan for verification and destruction of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China. The Conference accepted an agreement between Japan and China on the “verification of destruction of abandoned chemical weapons at the Mobile Destruction Facility for Chemical weapons in China that were abandoned by Japan.” The Conference also agreed to a detailed plan for “verification of the destruction of Category 1 chemical weapons at the chemical weapons destruction facility at Pochep, Bryanskaya Oblast, in the Russian Federation.”
The Conference additionally concluded an agreement between the OPCW and the Republic of Guinea on the privileges and immunities of the OPCW, and decided on themes to be incorporated into an agenda for a workshop on Article XI of the Chemical Weapons Convention to be held on 24-25 November in The Hague.
The 62nd Session of the Executive Council met on 5-8 October. The Executive Council adopted decisions, between the OPCW and the Union of the Comoros and the OPCW and the Government of the Republic of South Africa on the privileges and immunities of the OPCW.
2009: The 55th session of the Executive Council was held from 17-20 February.
In the intersessional period since the previous meeting, the Vice-Chairpersons held meetings and informal consultations on different clusters of issues. The Vice-Chairpersons presented reports to the Council on their respective issues. Topics included: chemical weapons, the chemical industry, and administrative, financial, and legal issues.
In its final report, the Council “reaffirmed the obligation of possessor States Parties to destroy their chemical weapons” and “emphasised the timely commencement of destruction activities at all chemical weapons destruction facilities.”
Mexican Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco Tonda was elected as Chairperson for the term from 12 May 2009 to 11 May 2010. The representatives from the Netherlands, Iran, Russia, and Sudan were selected as Vice-Chairpersons for the same period.
The 56th session of the Executive Council was held from 21-24 April.
At the session, the Council “welcomed the completion by India of destruction operations on 16 March 2009, thereby India’s achieving the complete destruction of all its chemical weapons.”
The Council “considered and approved a facility agreement with the United States of America regarding on-site inspections” at one of its facilities. It also approved amendments to an existing agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Council also “considered and concluded an agreement between the OPCW and the Government of the United Arab Emirates on the privileges and immunities of the OPCW.”
The 57th session of the Executive Council was held from 14-17 July.
In the final report, the Council considered and approved amendments to the verification plan of the destruction of chemical weapons at the Maradykovsky chemical weapons destruction facility in the Russian Federation and at the Ruwagha Chemicals Reloading System in Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The Council also considered modifications to the facility agreements at these locations. Futhermore, the Council reaffirmed the obligation of possessor States Parties to destroy their chemical weapons within the extended deadline. The 2008 Verification Implementation was considered and noted.
The 58th session of the Executive Council was held from 13-16 October.
The progress of converting chemical weapons production facilities was considered and noted. The Council considered a request by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in regards to an extension for intermediate and final deadlines for the destruction of its Category 1 chemical weapons. Also, the council noted from a report that the United States may be unable to destroy all of its chemical weapons by the extended deadline.
2008: The 52nd session of the Executive Council was held from 4-7 March.
The Council considered detailed plans for the destruction of chemical weapons at sites in the United States and Russia and reaffirmed the obligation of possessor States Parties to destroy their chemical weapons within the extended deadlines.
The Council considered and approved a facility arrangement between the OPCW and the United Kingdom regarding inspections at Ellesmere Port.
The Council requested the Conference to convene a Special Session on 7 April 2008 to amend a Rule of Procedure of the Conference.
The Council elected Ambassador Oksana Tomová as its new Chairperson for a term from 12 May 2008-11 May 2009, and the representatives to the Council of Algeria, Costa Rica, Germany, and the Islamic Republic of Iran as its new Vice-Chairpersons for the same period.
The 53rd session of the Executive Council was held from 24-27 June. Iraq was invited to participate as an observer.
Further to its consideration at previous sessions, the Council approved amendments to detailed plans for the destruction of chemical weapons at sites in the United States, Russia, and India. The Council also approved a number of facility agreements and amendments to existing agreements.
The Council approved proposed revisions to the specifications for three items of approved inspection equipment as well as a decision regarding declaration of import and export data for Schedule 2 and 3 chemicals.
The 54th session of the Executive Council was held from 14-17 October.
During the intersessional period, the Vice-Chairpersons served as coordinators for clusters of issues and held informal consultations. Each coordinator reported to the Council. In addition, the Chairperson reported on the activities of the Open-Ended Working Group on Terrorism and the Host Country Committee.
The Council considered and approved amendments to the agreed detailed plan for verification and destruction of chemical weapons at the Recovered Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility in the United States. The Council also approved verification and destruction plans as well as facility agreements for the Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility at Shchuchye in Russia and at the Rabta Toxic Chemicals Destruction Facility in Libya.
The Council took note of progress reports from States Parties that had been granted extensions of deadlines for the destruction of Category 1 chemical weapons and emphasized the timely commencement of destruction activities at all destruction facilities.
2007: The Executive Council met on the following dates: 13-16 March, 26-29 June, 25-28 September, 27-30 November.
The 48th Session of the Executive Council was held 13-16 March 2007. It was chaired by Ambassador Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize of South Africa.
The Council considered a request from Iraq, not a state party, and invited it to attend the meeting as an observer. It discussed the combined plan for phase 3 of destruction and verification of the chemical weapons production facility, Open Joint Stock Company “Kaprolaktam-Dzerzhinsk” in Dzerzhinsk, Russian Federation, and approved this plan.
The Council considered and approved a request by Italy for an extension of the deadlines for the destruction of its old chemical weapons (OCWs).
The Council took note of information by Austria and Germany regarding three OCWs that Austria had discovered in October 2005 and October 2006 and had declared as OCWs in accordance with Article III, subparagraph 1(b)(i), and with Part IV(B) of the Verification Annex to the Convention, and also took note of the technical assessment by the Secretariat that these OCWs pose an imminent danger to the environment. It approved the proposal to transport these OCWs to a chemical weapons destruction facility in Munster, Germany, in order to destroy them.
The Council also concluded an agreement between the OPCW and the Republic of Chile on the privileges and immunities of the OPCW.
The Council elected Ambassador Romeo A. Arguelles of the Philippines as its new Chairperson and the representatives of Algeria, Chile, Ireland, and Russian Federation as its new Vice-Chairpersons for a term of office ending on 11 May 2008.
The Council supported the statement made by the Director-General on 23 February 2007 condemning in the strongest possible terms the recent multiple use of chlorine gas in Iraq, and condemned those attacks.
It firmly rejected the use of toxic chemicals under any circumstances to inflict harm, and emphasized that such abhorrent acts are contrary to the comprehensive prohibition of the use of toxic chemicals as weapons set out in the Convention. The Council stressed the importance of the universality of the Convention and of achieving the high level of readiness of the OPCW as well as of States Parties to fully implement all relevant provisions of the Convention, in particular Article X, with respect to timely and needed assistance and protection against the use or threat of use of chemical weapons.
The Chairperson informed the Council of the composition of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country. The Committee members are as follows:
(a) The Chairperson of the Council;
(b) Two representatives of each regional group:
(i) Africa: Algeria and South Africa;
(ii) Asia: the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan;
(iii) Eastern Europe: Croatia and the Russian Federation;
(iv) Latin America and the Caribbean: Guatemala and Mexico;
(v) Western Europe and Other States: Switzerland and the United States of America;
(c) A representative of the Host Country: Ambassador Maarten Lak; and
(d) the Director-General.
The 49th Session of the Executive Council was held 26-29 June 2007. It was chaired by Ambassador Romeo A. Arguelles of the Philippines.
The Council noted the report by the Director-General on the progress that has been made by Albania in destroying its Category 1 and 2 chemical weapons stockpiles. It also received information by Albania on this matter. The Council restated its concern at the delays reported and noted that the completion of destruction of Albania’s chemical weapons was imminent. It requested Albania to take measures to meet its obligation to complete destruction of
its Category 1 and 2 chemical weapons without any further delay, and to keep the Council informed of its progress.
The Council approved a facility arrangement with the Italian Republic regarding on-site inspections at the following Schedule 2 plant sites: Archimica S.R.L., Isso, and the Sandoz Industrial Products S.P.A., Rovereto Trento, the Italian Republic. The Council considered and approved a facility arrangement with the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland regarding on-site inspections at the following Schedule 2 plant sites: Fluon Plant – AGC Chemicals Europe, Ltd, Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire and Albemarle Chemicals (UK) Limited, Avonmouth Works, Avonmouth, Bristol.
It considered the draft report of the OPCW for 2006, and forwarded it to the Conference for consideration at its Twelfth Session.
The Council approved the list of mass-spectrometry (MS) data and decided to consider further at its next regular session the list of approved MS data for analytical derivatives of scheduled chemicals, and the list of approved gas-chromatography (retention-index) data for analytical derivatives of scheduled chemicals. It received the Draft Programme and Budget for 2008 that was transmitted to the Conference of the State Parties at its Twelfth Session. It drew up the provisional agenda for the Twelfth Session of the Conference.
The 50th Session of the Executive Council was held 25-28 September 2007 and was headed by Ambassador Romeo A. Arguelles of the Philippines.
The Council noted the Note by the Director-General on the progress made by States Parties that have been granted extensions of deadlines for the destruction of their Category 1 chemical weapons. It also noted a Note by the Director-General on the destruction by Albania of its Category 1 chemical weapons stockpiles and another such Note on the completion by Albania of the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpiles.
The Council took note of the report of the Director-General to its Fiftieth Session on the status of implementation of Article VII of the Convention as at 22 August 2007 and welcomed the progress that had been made in the implementation of Article VII since the adoption of plan of action, while also noting that further efforts were needed in this regard.
The Council considered and noted the report that had been submitted to it and the Conference on the implementation of the action plan for the universality of the Convention by the Director-General from 30 September 2006 to 31 August 2007.
The Council also considered and approved facility arrangements with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland regarding on-site inspections at the converted chemical weapons production facility (CWPF) located at Randle Island Landfill Site (formerly ICI Randle), Astmoor, Runcorn Cheshire, at the former CWPF located at Valley Site (formerly ICI Valley), Rhydymwyn, Mold, North Wales, at the converted CWPF located at CRP Portreath (formerly Chemical Defence Establishment, Nancekuke), Portreath Redruth, Cornwall .
It also considered and approved a facility agreement with the government of the United States
of America regarding on-site inspections at the Schedule 2 plant site Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation-Mcintosh-A, Mcintosh, Alabama.
The Council adopted the Program and Budget of the OPCW for 2008 to be forwarded to the Conference for consideration at its Twelfth Session.
2006: The Executive Council met on the following dates: 14-17 March, 16–19 May, 4-7 July, and 7-10 November.
The 44th Session of the Executive Council was held from 14-17 March 2006. The chair of the meeting was Ambassador Alfonso Dastis of Spain. The Council invited Iraq, a non-State Party, to participate in the session as an observer, and indicated that while this decision was not intended to set a precedent, further such requests would be considered on a “case-by-case basis.”
The Executive Council approved the plan for verification of destruction of chemical weapons at Pine Bluff Binary Destruction Facility in Arkansas, USA, and the amendments to the plan for verification of destruction of chemical weapons at Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Alabama, USA.
The Council recommended that the organization's member-countries approve 21 December 2009 as the deadline for the completion of the third stage of Russia's chemical weapons disposal program. This amounts to Russia disposing of 45% of its chemical weapon arsenal, or 18,000 tons of chemical agents.
In order to achieve consensus on the most appropriate mechanism to establish an OPCW office in Africa, the Council encouraged the working group to “intensify its work.”
The Council decided to establish a working group to begin preparations for the Second Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons convention, as recommended by the Conference at the Tenth Session, and requested that the chairperson nominate a facilitator to coordinate activities.
The Open-Ended Working Group for the Second Review Conference (WGRC) held its first meeting on 7 July 2006. The WGRC’s chairman, Ambassador Lyn Parker of the United Kingdom, opened the session, attended by representatives of 44 States Parties, including the vice-chairs from Iran, Mexico, Russia, and Sudan.
The WGRC agreed that the work of the First Review Conference as recorded in the official report serves as a good starting point for establishing a structure for the Working Group’s discussions, and that every State Party must have the opportunity to express its views and contribute to the WGRC. OPCW director-general, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter commended the review process’ early start and informed the Working Group of steps taken by the Technical Secretariat in preparation for the Second Review Conference
The WGRC agreed to fix the dates of the Second Review Conference from 7 to 18 April 2008
On 27 April 2006, Remembrance Day for all victims of chemical warfare was observed for the first time at the headquarters of the OPCW. The commemoration was attended by representatives of OPCW member states and international organizations, among them the ICJ, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the OSCE, and the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent a message addressing the commemoration.
In his Remembrance Day address, OPCW Director-General Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, stressed that the aim of the Chemical Weapons Convention and of the OPCW is not only to ensure that those who possess chemical weapons destroy them safely and irreversibly, but also that those planning to misuse chemistry to produce new weapons will not succeed. He underscored the convention’s purpose to deal with an inheritance of the past and to address the needs of the future by enhancing international peace and security.
Remembrance Day will be observed every year to raise awareness of the horror and suffering caused by chemical weapons, as well as to call for a world free of chemical weapons. The Remembrance Day concept was endorsed at the Tenth Session of the Conference of the State Parties in November 2005.
The 45th Session of the Executive Council was held 16-19 May 2006. The chair of the meeting was Ambassador Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize of South Africa.
The Council considered and approved the detailed plan for verification of destruction of Category 1 chemicals at Kambarka CWDF (Russian Federation) and approved a facility agreement with the Russian Federation in relation to on-site inspections at Kambarka.
At the meeting, US Ambassador Eric Javits stated that despite a recent request to extend its deadline for the complete elimination of its chemical weapons stockpile to 2012, the United States is committed to "the fullest possible transparency" of its chemical weapons destruction process.
The Council reaffirmed the importance of the full implementation of Article X, and noted that only 55 States Parties submitted information under Article X, paragraph 4 (reporting of national protection programs) in 2004, and only 35 States Parties in 2005. Additionally, the Council noted that only 66 States Parties had made submissions under Article X, paragraph 7 (offers of assistance) and requested that the Secretariat follow up with States Parties that have not yet fulfilled these obligations.
The Council, having received a note from the director-general, commended the work of the open-ended working group on terrorism, and requested that it review the implementation of the Council’s decision on the OPCW’s contribution to global anti-terrorist efforts. The Council reconfirmed that the organization is not an anti-terrorism agency, and that it can operate only in strict accordance with its mandate as defined by the convention and decisions by the Council and the Conference of States Parties, and in compliance with the OPCW Policy on Confidentiality.
The 46th Session of the Executive Council was held 4-7 July 2006. The Chair of the meeting was Ambassador Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize of South Africa.
The Council considered and approved the detailed plan for verification of destruction of chemical weapons at the Qaf-Molla CWDF, Albania, and similarly approved a facility agreement with Albania regarding on-site inspections at the Qaf-Molla CWDF.
The Council considered and approved corrections to the detailed plans for destruction of the CWPF [production of VX-type substance and filling of munitions] Open Joint Stock Company (OJSC) Khimprom in Novocheboksarsk, Russian, and approved corrections to the plans for conversion of the CWPF [production of VX-type substance and filling of munitions, and the filling of munitions with sarin, soman, and viscous soman] OJSC Khimprom, Russia.
At the meeting, the US delegation submitted a formal request for an extension to the deadline for the total abolition of its chemical weapons. Despite a decision having been announced to make a request at the 45th Session, until now no formal draft request was submitted, in order to allow the United States to include as much information as possible as to why the extension was required.
The Council heard the progress reports made by the United States of America and the Russian Federation on the progress they have made in meeting revised deadlines for destruction of Category 1 chemical weapons, and reaffirmed the understanding that nothing in the decisions of the CSP (C-8/DEC.13 and C-8/DEC.15) shall prejudice any of the obligations under the convention of the States Parties mentioned in those decisions.
The Council approved a recommendation to the Conference of States Parties on the matter of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s request for an extension of the phase 4 deadline for destruction of its Category 1 chemical weapons stockpiles, and its proposal for the establishment of specific deadlines for the destruction of 1%, 20%, and 45% of those stockpiles.
The Council considered and approved a request by China and Japan to extend the deadline for completing the destruction of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China.
The Council welcomed the progress made by States Parties in establishing or designating National Authorities (Article VII), and noted that only 14 states had yet to do so, but noted that the number of States Parties that had yet to enact legislation and to adopt administrative measures to implement the Convention remained unchanged at 68. The Council urged each State Party that has not yet established a national authority or taken the necessary steps to enact legislation, including penal legislation, to intensify its efforts, to specify its needs to the organization, and to take advantage of assistance offered by the Secretariat and other States Parties. The Council requested that the director-general designate a “help-desk” within the Technical Secretariat to assist States Parties.
The Council noted that Article X, paragraph 5 calls for the establishment of a databank of freely available information on protection against chemical weapons and information that may be provided by States Parties (including their offers under Article X, paragraph 7). The Council requested that the Secretariat finish setting up the databank and make it available to States Parties by the Eleventh Session of the Conference. The Council welcomed the increased levels of activity under the Assistance and Protection Branch and requested more timely and detailed reports on program activities.
The Council considered and approved the lists of new validated data for inclusion in the organization’s Central Analytical Database.
2005: The Executive Council met on the following dates: 15-18 March, 28 June–1 July, 27–30 September, and 6-9 December.
The Executive Council met for its 40th session on 15-18 March. The session was chaired by José Antonio Arróspide of Peru. The Council noted states’ progress on implementing the Article VII obligations action plan, but added that there was an urgent need to continue these efforts.
The 41st session of the Executive Council was held on 28 June–1 July. It was chaired by José Antonio Arróspide of Peru. The Council considered and noted the report by the director-general on the readiness of the Secretariat to conduct challenge inspections. The Council reaffirmed the request of the First Review Conference that the Secretariat continues to maintain a high standard of readiness in accordance with the provisions of the convention. The Council further reaffirmed the request of the First Review Conference to resolve expeditiously the outstanding issues related to challenge inspections and requested that the facilitation efforts on the issue of challenge inspections be continued to resolve these issues.
The Executive Council met for its 42nd session on 27–30 September. The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Alfonso Dastis of Spain. The Council considered and approved its report on the performance of its activities in the period from 3 July 2004 to 1 July 2005. It also undertook to review, at its Tenth Session, in November 2005, the status of implementation of Article VII and to consider and decide on any appropriate measures to be taken, if necessary, in order to ensure compliance by all States Parties with Article VII.
The Secretariat submitted a report to the Council on progress and implementation of a plan adopted at the 23rd Council meeting in 2003 to universalize the CWC. The Council considered and approved a decision recommending to the Conference at its Tenth Session that it renew the appointment of the Director-General, Mr Rogelio Pfirter, for one further term of four years.
The Executive Council met for its 43rd session on 6-9 December. The meeting was again chaired by Ambassador Alfonso Dastis of Spain. At the meeting, the Council considered and approved the agreed detailed plan for verification of the destruction of chemical weapons at the Recovered Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility in the United States, further to the discussions on the topic held at the previous session. .
In a decision taken at its Tenth Session, the Conference recommended that the Council establish an appropriate ad hoc, open-ended working group to examine the administrative, financial, and legal aspects of a proposal to establish an OPCW Office in Africa, and requested the Council forward recommendation to the Conference at its Eleventh Session.
The Council also decided to establish an open ended working group for the Second Review Conference, as per the recommendations made in the Tenth Session of the Conference of the State Parties.
2004: The Executive Council held sessions on 23-26 March, 29 June-1 July, 12-15 October, 14-17 December.
The Executive Council met for its 36th session during 23-26 March and was chaired by Petr Kubernát of the Czech Republic.
The Council reaffirmed the action plan’s provisions, urged states to continue requesting or offering assistance in implementing the action plan, and to keep the Secretariat informed about their related activities. The Council also encouraged the Secretariat to enhance its coordination of activities under the plan with states.
First introduced at its 34th session, the Council adopted a decision on the understanding of the concept of “captive use” in connection with declarations of production and/or consumption under the Verification Annex of the CWC, Parts VII and VIII.
The Executive Council met for its 37th session during 29 June-1 July 2004 and was chaired José Antonio Arróspide of Peru.
The Council adopted the provisional agenda for the Ninth Session of the Conference of the States Parties.
The Council approved deadlines and verification plans for chemical weapons destruction in Albania, Libya, and the United States. The Council also approved arrangements for on-site inspections in Australia and Singapore.
The Council noted the director-general’s report on the status of Article X and XI implementation and decided that such reports in future should be addressed during intercessional periods.
The draft report of the OPCW for 2003 was consid- red by the Council and referred to the Conference of the States Parties at its Ninth Session.
The 38th session of the Executive Council took place on 12-15 October and was chaired by José Antonio Arróspide of Peru. In addition to noting the supplement to the 2003 Verification Implementation Report, the Council expressed its concern that only a few states submitted their annual declaration on past activities for 2003 on time and urged all states to submit timely annual declarations.
The Executive Council met for its 39th session on 14-17 December and was chaired by José Antonio Arróspide of Peru.
The Council recommended, inter alia, that the Conference
- Reaffirm the importance and urgency of states to implement their Article VII obligations
- Encourage state to continue taking appropriate and timely steps to implement the action plan
- Encourage the Secretariat to continue promoting cooperation between States Parties that have offered and requested assistance
- Request the Secretariat to provide feedback to states on progress in implementing the plan of action and receive feedback from states that have received assistance.
2003: The Executive Council held sessions on 18-21 March, 24-26 June, 23-26 September, and 2-5 December.
The Executive Council met for its 32nd session on 18-21 March. The session was chaired by Lionel Fernando of Sri Lanka. The Council approved the work of the open-ended working group on preparations for the First Review Conference, which had held 30 meetings.
The Executive Council met for its 33rd session on 24-26 June. The first session was chaired Petr Kubernát of the Czech Republic.
The Council considered and noted a report by the director-general on the optimization and efficiency of verification activities. The Council was briefed by the Technical Secretariat on the progress made on the optimization of verification activities through more substantial use of monitoring equipment for cost-saving purposes.
The Executive Council noted a report on the status of conversion of former Chemical Weapons Production Facilities (CWPFs). The Council requested that, during its last regular session of each year, it should be fully informed by relevant states about the status of conversion at former CWPFs located on their territories where conversion was still in progress.
The Executive Council met for its 34th session on 23-26 September. The session was chaired by Petr Kubernát of the Czech Republic. The Executive Council decided to continue working on assistance and protection against chemical weapons, including procedures for annual submission by States Parties of information relating to their national protective purposes programs, further to a request from the First Review Conference.
The Executive Council met for its 35th session on 2-5 December. The session was chaired by Petr Kubernát of the Czech Republic.
The Council considered a draft decision on the understanding of the concept of “captive use” in connection with declarations of production and consumption under Parts VII and VIII of the Verification Annex and decided to return to the matter at its next regular session. It also decided that the issue of captive use of Schedule 1 chemicals should be addressed in separate intercessional consultations.
2002: The Executive Council met for its 28th Session from 19-22 March; the session was chaired by Abdel Halim Babu Faith of Sudan. The Council adopted eight decisions and deferred decisions on more than 20 issues until the next session.
During the 28th Session, the US delegation submitted a draft decision on a no-confidence motion for the OPCW director-general. The Brazilian delegation submitted a draft decision on the establishment of an extraordinary committee aimed at resolving the situation through dialogue and cooperation. In two consecutive roll-call votes, neither the motion of no-confidence for the OPCW director-general nor the proposal calling for the establishment of an extraordinary committee was adopted by the required two-thirds majority of all 41 members of the Council. The US delegation informed the Council of its request submitted to the Director-General to convene a special session of the Conference of States Parties.
The Council adopted a decision on the First Review Conference, which convened for a two-week period commencing on 28 April 2003.
The Council also elected Ambassador Lionel Fernando of Sri Lanka as its new chair for the term of office ending 11 May 2003, and the representatives of Germany, Mexico, the Russian Federation, and South Africa as its vice-chair, for the same period. The Council recognized that a budget deficit of Euro 2.1 million was evident, and that this deficit, if unfunded, would severely impact the delivery of the approved program of work for 2002.
During the 29th Session and in accordance with the decision of the Council at its 18th Meeting (EC-M-18/DEC.1, dated 31 May 2002), the Council reviewed the situation in relation to the presentation of candidates for the post of director-general of the Secretariat. The Council decided to convene a special meeting of the Council on 16 July, with a view to making a recommendation to the Conference on the appointment of the director-general, and also to recommend to the chair of the Conference that the First Special Session of the Conference should reconvene on 25 July to appoint the director-general.
The Executive Council met for its 29th Session from 25-28 June; Ambassador Lionel Fernando of Sri Lanka chaired the session. The Council adopted four decisions and deferred decisions on more than 20 issues until the next session. Of the four decisions made, two adopted approved facility agreements with Iran and Yugoslavia and two approved lists of new validated data for inclusion in the Central OPCW Analytical Database.
By 16 July, the OPCW Technical Secretariat had undertaken 1,210 inspections. All 61 declared chemical weapons production facilities around the world had been inspected and sealed. Of these, 36 had been certified as destroyed or converted to peaceful purposes. More than 6,700 tons of chemical agents had been destroyed. Over two million chemical bombs, shells, and rockets had been destroyed.
The Executive Council held its 30th Session from 10-13 September under the chairmanship of Ambassador Lionel Fernando of Sri Lanka. The Council adopted two combined plans for destruction and verification of chemical weapons production facilities in the Russian Federation, as well as seven facility agreements (five for chemical weapons destruction facilities in the United States and two for Schedule 1 facilities ― one in Yugoslavia another in South Africa), and recommended to the Conference of the States Parties the adoption of five conversion requests for chemical weapons production facilities in the Russian Federation, as well as of the agreed detailed plan for the verification of destruction of chemical weapons at Unit 1 of the Gorny chemical weapons destruction facility in the Russian Federation. The Council also adopted an important decision on guidelines for declarations of the production, consumption, import and export of Schedule 2 chemicals and for import and export of Schedule 3 chemicals, which would contribute to the consistent application of the Convention’s provisions in all States Parties.
2001: From 3-6 April, the Executive Council of the OPCW met for its 24th Session in The Hague. The session was chaired by Mr. Bernhard Brasack of Germany. In his opening statement, the Director-General, Mr. José M. Bustani, spoke about the OPCW’s current financial crisis, and the Secretariat’s efforts to continue its mandatory activities and frugally implement the CWC. He affirmed that the crisis should not prevent the full implementation of the CWC by OPCW States Parties. The director-general called on the States Parties to strive for a solution to the monetary problems. The Council recognized the need to address the financial situation and called for additional information on the savings that are being made, and on possible additional funding requirements for the remainder of 2001.
The Council adopted a decision on the combined plans for the destruction and verification of one more chemical weapons production facility, Khimprom, in Volgograd. The Council also addressed the question of improving the language services provided to States Parties and delegations.
The Council elected its new chair, H.E. Dr. Abdel Halim Babu Fatih Elrayah of Sudan, whose term began on 12 May 2001 and ended on 11 May 2002. It also elected four vice-chairs (from Mexico, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and Sweden). The Director-General congratulated the chair, noting that Sudan had joined the OPCW in 1999, and was now playing a very active role in the work of the Organization. He expressed his hope that Sudan would encourage other states in the region to accede to the CWC.
On 4 July, the OPCW announced the completion of its 1,000th inspection. Since the CWC entered into force, the OPCW’s inspectors, coming from over 50 States Parties, have traveled over 21 million miles, and inspected a total of 462 facilities in 49 States Parties.
On 16 July, the chair of the OPCW Executive Council, Ambassador Abdel Halim Babu Fatih Elrayah, attended a summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Lusaka on behalf of the OPCW. He carried a personal message from OPCW Director-General José M. Bustani to the Foreign Ministers of those African states that still have to take action on the Convention. Upon his return to The Hague, Ambassador Babu Fatih Elrayah expressed his hope that African leaders will do their utmost to attain the ratification or accession to the CWC by all countries on the African continent. He spoke to the Foreign Ministers of Angola, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and Uganda. He received many positive responses, with some African ministers indicating that their countries would be taking action on the CWC in the near future. Ambassador Babu Fatih Elrayah stressed the importance of sending a strong political signal to the world about Africa’s commitment to the nonproliferation of chemical weapons, while underlining the many benefits of the CWC for Africa. These benefits extend to both political and security concerns and increased international cooperation in the chemical trade.
From 4-7 December, the Executive Council met for its 27th Session. The Council adopted five decisions and deferred 24 draft decisions. The Council adopted a decision on the OPCW’s contribution to global anti-terrorism efforts and stressed that, at this stage; the contribution to global anti-terrorism should focus on the areas of promotion of universal adherence to the Convention, full implementation of the legislative measures, and the ability of the OPCW to respond to the assistance and protection provisions.
The Executive Council met for its 26th Session from 25-28 September. The Director-General took this opportunity to condemn the attacks of 11 September and said that terrorism was a looming threat that should prompt the OPCW to review the implementation of its mandate. He called on national governments to give serious consideration to the ways in which the OPCW could respond to emerging global threats.
2000: The OPCW held its 22nd Session of the Executive Council from 5-8 December, during which it discussed plans for destroying chemical weapons in various countries and carrying out inspections. It also covered the procedure for the payment by OPCW members of their annual contributions to the budget of this organization and a number of important organizational questions.
Point of Contact:
Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü (Turkey)
Johan de Wittlaan 32
2517 JR, The Hague
This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2015.
The OPCW is the implementing body of the CWC; its mandate is to ensure implementation including verification measures and furnish a forum for consultation and cooperation among States Parties.