Civil Society at the CSP
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Participate at the Conference of States Parties
One of the main functions of the CWC Coalition is to facilitate greater civil society/non-governmnetal organization (NGO) interest and participation at the annual Conference of State Parties (CSP) to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The following section is intended to answer some of the most common questions regarding how, and to what extent, civil society can participate in the CSP. For the most up to date information, please visit the OPCW’s NGO web page.
Who can apply to attend the Conference of States Parties (CSP) as a representative of a civil society organization?
According to the Guidelines for Future Attendance and Participation by Non-Governmental Organizations (RC-3/DEC.2), “representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), whose activities/interests are demonstrably relevant to the object and purpose of the Chemical Weapons Convention” may apply to attend the CSP.
Each civil society organization must clearly state in its application how its activities/interests are relevant to the object and purpose of the Convention. To review the purpose of the CWC, please visit the OPCW website. For a list of civil society organizations that attended the CSP-24, click here.
How do you apply to have a representative from your civil society organization attend the CSP?
The CSP General Committee has developed an online registration portal to streamline the application and review process. Registration is not yet open for CSP-26, which is currently scheduled for 29 November – 3 December 2021. For the most up-to-date information about application requirements, please visit the OPCW’s web page for CSP-26 here.
The deadline to submit an application is typically in August, and the application review process takes several months. Be aware of any additional deadlines for visas and other travel documentation required by the Netherlands and your home country.
What role does an approved civil society organization play at the CSP?
Civil society organizations that have been approved to attend the CSP are referred to as “accredited NGOs.” Typically, accredited NGOs are entitled to:
- Access to open meetings and plenary sessions at the World Forum (seated in the public gallery)
- Access to side events in the OPCW building
- The ability to use display space for documents and/or exhibits that are relevant to the object and purpose of the Convention at designated sites
- Access to public documents and statements of the CSP
- The opportunity to make a statement on behalf of the NGOs during a designated section of the General Debate
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NGO participation was limited at the CSP-25 to pre-recorded statements from 20 accredited NGOs. These statements are available on the OPCW website.
How does an NGO representative register to make a statement on behalf of their NGO during the designated section after the General Debate?
The Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition (CWCC) coordinates civil society statements. A plenary meeting for presentations by NGOs will be held at each annual Conference in the period following the general debate. NGOs interested in making a statement should send an advance electronic copy or a synopsis of the proposed statements for review to Dr. Paul Walker, Coordinator of the CWC Coalition. Following the National Statements, a limited number of NGO representatives (usually 20) will be able to give brief 3 minute plenary statements.
How many NGOs are allowed to attend?
There is no limit on the number of NGOs that can apply to attend the conference. Around 70-100 NGOs attend annually. The CWCC encourages and promotes increased participation of NGOs. However, participation is contingent on the results of the application review process undertaken by the Public Affairs Office and the General Committee.
What is the Open Forum and how can an NGO present at this event?
Over the course of the week-long conference, the CWCC hosts one or more NGO Open Forum side events. NGOs have the opportunity to present their work on topics relevant to the object/purpose of the CWC and foster discussion with Conference delegates, the Technical Secretariat, and other stakeholders.