OPCW Signs Contract to Begin Construction of New Centre for Chemistry and Technology

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and Dutch construction company Dura Vermeer yesterday signed the main construction contract for a new facility – the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (“ChemTech Centre”). The contract was signed by the OPCW Director of Administration, Mr Christopher Buck, and, on behalf of Dura Vermeer, by Mr David Snelleman. The contract signing was overseen by OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and CEO of Dura Vermeer, Mr Job Dura.

The Director-General stated: “By entering into this contract, the OPCW has taken a significant step towards the establishment of the ChemTech Centre. This facility will strengthen the Organisation’s scientific capabilities, critical to our mission of safeguarding the Chemical Weapons Convention. In Dura Vermeer, the OPCW has found an experienced and reliable partner for turning the ChemTech Centre plan into reality.”

Director-General Arias also expressed his gratitude to the OPCW Member States and other donors that have supported the project so far. He further emphasised the important role the ChemTech Centre will play in developing the OPCW’s ability to address the threat from chemical weapons use and enhance capacity building activities to the benefit of all 193 Member States – in areas like analytical chemistry skills, chemical safety and security, first response, sampling techniques, and emergency management.

Mr Dura commented: “Dura Vermeer is proud to start work for the OPCW, the global leader in the effort to rid the world of chemical weapons, and to join the Organisation in realising its ambition to establish the new ChemTech Centre. We hope the Centre will be a source of pride for the community and for the OPCW. Our enthusiastic team is keen to embark on this new flagship project.”

The ChemTech Centre is an important upgrade to the OPCW’s research, analytical and capacity building capabilities in support of Member States. It will bring together the OPCW Laboratory, Equipment Store, and a range of state-of-the-art training facilities. The Centre will also serve as a knowledge repository to tackle chemical threats worldwide as well as a platform to promote expert dialogue, exchange, and collaboration in the field of peaceful uses of chemistry. In addition, a new logistics centre and training facilities will significantly enhance the professional development of OPCW inspectors, mission preparations, and support deployments.

The building will be located on a 6,400m2 plot within the Heron Business Park in Pijnacker-Nootdorp, outside The Hague. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer and the Centre should become operational at the end of 2022.

Background

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.

Founded in 1855, Dura Vermeer is an independent family business focusing on the Dutch construction market with activities in residential construction, non-residential construction, and infrastructure. With over € 1.4 billion in turnover and more than 2,800 employees, Dura Vermeer occupies a position among the top ten companies in the Dutch construction industry.

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.

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