The Chemical Weapons Convention is one of the 25 core treaties of the United Nations. It is an international treaty which bans the development, production, use, stockpiling, and transfer of chemical weapons. The treaty text contains provisions for verification of the treaty including explicit inspections procedures, lists of banned chemicals, and deadlines for the destruction of declared weapons stockpiles and production facilities.
The CWC entered into force on April 29, 1997 and mandated the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to monitor and verify the inactivation and destruction of declared stockpiles of chemical weapons. Every 5 years a review Conference is convened to review the operation of the Convention, specifically taking into account any relevant scientific or technological developments. The First Review Conference was held in the spring of 2003 and the Second Review Conference is scheduled to be held in the spring of 2008.
To date 188 countries have ratified the CWC, including the United States, which ratified the CWC on April 24, 1997 – just days before its entry into force.