The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and New Zealand’s Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, the Honourable Phil Twyford, met online on 23 June to discuss cooperation and progress in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The Director-General and the Minister discussed progress in fulfilling the OPCW’s mandate to achieve the total and permanent elimination of all chemical weapons. This included an update on the organisation’s activities relating to Syria. They also acknowledged the need to intensify international cooperation and assistance to promote the peaceful uses of chemistry, while adapting to the constraints imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Director-General Arias provided an update on the construction of a new OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology, located outside The Hague in the Netherlands.
The Director-General stated: “Since the beginning of our mission, New Zealand has been a trusted and reliable partner in the international drive to eliminate chemical weapons. In today’s evolving threat environment, such support is invaluable. It allows us to move, through dialogue and action, towards a more secure world in which the tenets of the Convention are unconditionally upheld.”
New Zealand has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997.
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.