The Government of New Zealand has contributed a further €100,000 to a special Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Trust Fund to support the construction of a new facility, the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (“ChemTech Centre”).
The contribution was formalised during a ceremony between the Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Lyndal Walker, and OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, which was held yesterday at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.
Ambassador Walker stated: “”New Zealand is proud to contribute a further €100,000 to the construction of the new OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology. Our total contribution of €200,000 demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to disarmament and our strong support for the OPCW’s vital role as the world’s chemical weapons watchdog. The new Centre will enable the OPCW to future-proof its work, respond to the concerning re-emergence of chemical weapons, and enhance international cooperation. We look forward to construction starting soon on this important project.”
The Director-General expressed: “I am grateful to the Government of New Zealand for its further support to the ChemTech Centre project – a new leading-edge facility that will ensure the OPCW remains adequately prepared and robustly equipped to address future challenges for the Chemical Weapons Convention. The project is progressing swiftly as construction is scheduled to begin this summer.”
Director-General Arias also thanked all the OPCW States Parties and other donors that have supported the project to date. He emphasised the important role the new ChemTech Centre will play in strengthening the OPCW’s ability to address threats from chemical weapons use and enhance capacity building activities to the benefit of all 193 Member States.
So far, 47 countries, the European Union, and four other donors have contributed or pledged to contribute financially to the ChemTech Centre project, and €33.6M has been raised.
States Parties are encouraged to continue participating in this important project. Further voluntary contributions will be used to finance equipment and activities related to International Cooperation and Assistance involving the ChemTech Centre.
The project to build the ChemTech Centre seeks to strengthen the OPCW’s capabilities to fully address new and emerging chemical weapons threats, as well as to support capacity building in OPCW Member States. The current OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store are central to the effectiveness and integrity of the verification regime of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and they also contribute to the OPCW’s capacity building and international cooperation activities. However, the current facility will soon no longer be fit-for-purpose due to its ageing infrastructure, space constraints, larger workloads, and new missions with new areas of work.
A new facility is required to meet the demands of OPCW Member States for enhanced verification tools, improved detection capabilities and response measures, as well as increased capacity building activities. The ChemTech Centre will also help the OPCW to keep pace with developments in science and technology and new chemical weapons threats. Construction of the ChemTech Centre is scheduled to begin in 2021 and the building is currently planned to be operational by the end of 2022.
To date, the following Member States have contributed or pledged to contribute to the project: Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. The European Union, Israel (a signatory state) and other donors have also contributed.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 98% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.