Asian Member States strengthen regional cooperation to advance implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention

Representatives of Member States in Asia gathered online for the Twentieth Regional Meeting of National Authorities of States Parties in Asia from 23 to 25 May. The meeting provided national delegates with an opportunity to discuss issues, challenges and priorities as well as national experiences and good practices related to implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

In his opening remarks, the Acting Director of the OPCW’s International Cooperation and Assistance Division highlighted: “Regional Meetings are a valuable and unique opportunity for Member States to come together to learn, share ideas and best practices, discuss emerging trends and issues, and in turn work together to strengthen national and regional implementation of the Convention.”

He further noted: “While the operational restrictions imposed across the globe as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have posed a range of unique challenges to the comprehensive implementation of the Convention, they have also led to new ideas, good practices and innovative solutions. Regional meetings are a great place to reflect on this and share experiences.”

Meeting delegate, Japchu of the National Authority of Bhutan, stated: “The meeting was an excellent opportunity to network with colleagues, receive updates from the OPCW Technical Secretariat and discuss shared regional experiences. Being able to interact with Secretariat staff and regional counterparts on key issues related to Convention implementation was incredibly valuable.”

    Asian Member States strengthen regional cooperation to advance implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention

    On the first day of the meeting, the Secretariat delivered updates on technical assistance and capacity building support available to Member States, highlighted key implementation challenges and discussed regional approaches to national implementation. The second day of the meeting focussed on Article VI of the Convention (Activities Not Prohibited), with briefings by OPCW declarations and inspections experts on region-specific, verification-related issues. The final day of the meeting was devoted to science and policy-related issues and the potential role of National Authorities in helping to broaden geographic representation among OPCW staff.

    The meeting was attended by 53 representatives from the following 26 Member States: Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, State of Palestine, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam, and Yemen.

    Background

    As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

    Over 99% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

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