Event and Conference Summaries

Summary Report

28th Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention

During the annual Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), representatives from all the States Parties to the CWC convene in The Hague to oversee the implementation of the CWC, promote the goals and obligations of the treaty, and review treaty compliance, among other tasks. CSP-28 is being held this week, from 27 November – 1 December 2023. 

This summary report will be updated each day of the Conference with important decisions, votes, and other items of note. 

Need a refresher on the OPCW, CWC, or Executive Council? Check out these short educational videos produced by the OPCW. 

Conference of the States Parties - 27th Session (Photo Credit: OPCW)

Key Topics

Addresing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use and the Threat of Future Use

November 30 2023


A decision was taken that requested the Secretariat continue its capacity building in the area of investigating alleged use of chemical weapons through the “further development of tools and methodologies…and expertise accumulated through the conduct of previous missions, and by any other means the Director-General deems necessary and appropriate.” 

The report focused on the ongoing case of Syria’s non-compliance with the CWC. The report decided “that the continued possession and use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic in Syria, and its failures to submit an accurate and complete declaration and to destroy all of its undeclared chemical weapons and production facilities, have caused serious damage to the object and purpose of the Convention” and made the following recommendations for States Parties:
       1. Prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer to the Syrian Arab Republic

  1. Put in place other measures that may be necessary to avoid the potential delivery of toxic materials to the Syrian Arab Republic 
  2. Comply with criminal investigations and proceedings in accordance with international law relating to the chemical weapons attacks in the Syria Arab Republic

The decision also entailed annual reporting by the Director-General to the Council and States Parties on the status of the Syrian case, as well as any other cases that may arise in the future. It was finally decided that given the gravity of the situation, the Director-General would provide a copy of the decision to the United Nations Secretary General in order to bring the Syrian case to the attention of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

Action Plan on Geographical Representation

30 November 2023


A decision was taken regarding plans to achieve “a more equitable and diverse geographical distribution” within the OPCW Secretariat. The decision was composed of (1) a strategic framework, (2) an implementation program, and (3) a monitoring and reporting mechanism to implement the program. The framework is based on the Action Plan on Geographical Representation. The Action Plan is centered around outreach endeavors, engagement of National Authorities, professional opportunities within the OPCW, and recruitment efforts. 

The decision also highlighted the need for cooperation among States Parties and the Secretariat in reaching “more diverse audiences” and raising awareness of professional opportunities in the Secretariat. The goal of the Action Plan is to take an intentional and targeted approach to redressing the imbalance in geographic diversity within the organization. 


A decision was made to grant South Sudan observer status at CSP-28. This decision was made in light of the fact that South Sudan has neither signed nor acceded to the CWC. South Sudan has expressed its commitment to acceding to the CWC in the past. In October 2023, the Director-General of the OPCW met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon James Pitia Morgan in Algiers, Algeria, to confirm South Sudan’s commitment to acceding to the treaty. During CSP-28, on 29 November 2023, South Sudan again reaffirmed its plans to accede as soon as possible, and Director-General Fernando Arias expressed the OPCW’s support again: “I look forward to welcoming South Sudan as the 194th State Party to the Convention at an early stage.” https://www.opcw.org/media-centre/news/2023/11/south-sudan-announces-new-step-accession-procedure-chemical-weapons

Once South Sudan accedes, only 3 nations will remain outside the CWC – Egypt, Israel, and North Korea. For more information on achieving universality, read here: https://www.opcw.org/our-work/achieving-universality-convention 

Attendance and Participation by Non-Governmental Organizations

NGO participation was once again a topic of discussion at the OPCW. A decision was taken which approved the attendance and participation of NGOs approved by the OPCW and which decided that the attendance and participation of these NGOs extends to attendance of plenary sessions and participation in review conference activities. 106 NGOs were approved to attend CSP-28. However, the issue of the opaque approval process remained a key issue, with NGOs being rejected from attending the conference without being given a reason. The CWC Coalition addressed the need for this practice to change in one of the joint NGO plenary statements.