Reinforcing the Norm Against Chemical Weapons: The April 20-22 Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention
May 10, 2021
10:00 AM Eastern Time
The Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition, in cooperation with the Arms Control Association, hosted this briefing to review the results and implications of the 25th Conference of States Parties for the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the CWC regime.
Opening remarks were provided by H.E. Fernando Arias, Director-General of the OPCW. Following, we heard from
- Amb. Lisa Helfand, Permanent Representative of Canada to the OPCW
- Amb. Gudrun Lingner, Permanent Representative of Germany to the OPCW
- Dr. Jean Pascal Zanders, independent disarmament and security researcher at The Trench
- Dr. Paul Walker, moderator, Coordinator, Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition
Director-General Fernando Arias:
“The civil society community of non-governmental organizations, researchers, scientists, and other relevant stakeholders are essential partners in achieving the OPCW’s mission and raising awareness about the risks posed by certain chemicals. The Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition has played a critical role in this regard by coordinating and supporting civil society engagement with the OPCW through the Conference of the State’s Parties.”
“The report of the Fact Finding Mission related to the incident in Douma on the 7th of April 2018 is still the object of discussion between some member states. The Fact Finding Mission released its report on the 1st of March, 2019. In its report, the Fact Finding Mission concluded reasonable grounds that the use of chlorine as a weapon likely took place. … None of the 193 member states of the organization have challenged the findings of the Fact Finding Mission that chlorine was found on the scene of the attack in Douma.”
“As we count down to mark the 25th anniversary of the organization in 2022, we need to acknowledge that our world today is very different to the one in 1997 when it was founded. To meet the challenges, it is imperative for us to keep adapting and evolving in an ever changing global landscape. Preventing re-emergence will require the commitment and the efforts of all stakeholders – civil society, government, and chemical industry.”
The following resources provide supplemental information on the topic of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and strengthening the norm against chemical weapons use.
- “Reinforcing the Global Norm Against Chemical Weapons Use,” by Julia Masterson, Arms Control Association, February 18, 2021
- “‘Everyone Has a Lot at Stake’: A Q&A with Fernando Arias,” Arms Control Association, October 2018
- “Timeline of Syrian Chemical Weapons Activity, 2012-2021,” Daryl Kimball and Kelsey Davenport, Arms Control Association, last updated May 2021
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