Informal Update on Day 7

RIchard Guthrie sent out another informal email update on progress in The Hague today.

“This is an informal update and the outline provided here will be filled in with more details tomorrow in the regular report.

Tuesday has seen more late night working on the draft declaration with consultations finishing at around 9.30pm local time.

Some sections were gone through a second time. While the universality section is now almost bracket-free, the sections on general obligations and destruction remain heavily bracketed. Only the first few paragraphs of the verification section have been looked at again, and these also remain heavily bracketed.

At the end of the Tuesday evening consultations a decision to have two ‘facilitators’ on specific sections was taken. Ambassador Maarten Lak (Netherlands) will focus on general obligations and Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco Tonda (Mexico) on destruction. The facilitated consultations on general obligations are scheduled to run in parallel with the main informal consultations during the morning, with a similar procedure following for destruction in the afternoon.”

Agenda for Day 7

If the tentative work programme is still being followed, today the meeting of the Committee of the Whole continues with its morning session focusing on:

“implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention relating to the protection of confidential information”

and the afternoon session looking at:

“implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention relating to the general functioning of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”

It is likely that significant time will be devoted to refining the draft text for the declaration of the conference, and potentially cause negotiations to continue into the evening again today.

Report on Day 6

Richard Guthrie’s report on Day 6 of the Review Conference “Start of the second week: Picking up the pace” is now available. In it Guthrie describes some of the negotiations taking place over the text of the Conference draft declaration. A large portion of the declaration text had been drafted at pre-conference meetings by the Open-Ended Working Group on the Second Review Conference, but it has now been significantly expanded and altered during the closed-door, informal meetings of the Committee of the Whole that have been taking place over the past few days. Not unexpectedly, the wide range of states from different regions and economies also have differing interests and priorities for the CWC and the declaration of the Second Review Conference.

Iran National Statement

On April 8 the Ambassador from Iran delivered his nation’s statement during the general debate. We were disappointed because at the time a transcript of the statement was not provided, and then were pleasantly surprised on April 9 when a copy was passed out to all the delegates. Nonetheless I remained skeptical that an electronic version would be listed with the others on the OPCW Second RevCon website, and as such promised that when I got back to the U.S. I would scan and post the Iran Statement for anyone interested.

Well, I’m back now and here is the National Statement of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Review Conference.

Day 6

Today the Committee of the Whole meets again, this time spending the morning on:

“implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention relating to economic and technological development”

and the afternoon talking about:

“implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention relating to Articles XII to XV and final clauses.”

It appears that today’s negotiations continued into the evening. Richard Guthrie who still is in The Hague at the Conference sent this informal update on the rather slow progress the Commitee of the Whole has been making.

“This is an informal update and the outline provided here will be filled in with more details tomorrow in the regular report.

After a mammoth effort, the paragraph-by-paragraph read through of the ‘informal text’ was completed Monday night.

The consultations finished at 8.40pm local time with a new version of ‘CRP.1′ that now contains 40 pages of draft declaration compared with 29 just prior to the opening of the Review Conference.

There are many, many instances of bracketed text and highlighted text indicating further discussion may be needed and most paragraphs contain at least one bracket or one highlight.

It is not clear what procedure will be carried out tomorrow for the ‘second reading’ of the text. This will probably be decided at the General Committee meeting that is scheduled for 9.30 Tuesday morning.”

At the Conference Halfway Point

The first week of the Second Review Conference is finished, and today the second week starts.

Richard Guthrie’s latest report “First week completed: Sufficient rate of progress?” covers Day 5 of the conference and reflects on how the first week has gone.

On Friday Global Security Newswire ran an article “After Debate, Hard Work Begins at CWC Conference” also reflecting on the first week in The Hague.

Day 5 – Committee of the Whole

Here is Richard Guthrie’s latest report.

Today is day 5 of the conference and according the the tentative pregramme of work the Commitee of the Whole will spend the morning session on:

“implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention relating to national implementation measures; consultation, cooperation, and fact-finding.”

And the afternoon session on:

“implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention relating to assistance and protection against chemical weapons.”

On the news side of things, Global Security Newswire ran a story about the Open Forum, ITAR-TASS has a piece about the Russian photo exhibit, and there was an article in the latest issue of Nature.

Day 4 – Commitee of the Whole

Today the Commitee of the Whole begins. This is where the real business of the Review Conference will take place – too bad NGO observers are not allowed. The tentative programme of work says that the morning session will discuss:

“the role of the Chemical Weapons Convention in enhancing international peace and security and in achieving the objectives as set forth in the preamble of the Convention; ensuring the universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention; implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention relating to general obligations and declarations related thereto.”

And the afternoon session will focus on:

“implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention relating to destruction of chemical weapons and destruction or conversion of chemical weapons production facilities; verification activities of the OPCW; activities not prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention.”

The Open Forum

Here is a (not so brief) overview of the Open Forum held at OPCW headquarters yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon was the Open Forum, where other stakeholders in the CWC, such as industry, academia and NGOs were able to present their views and ideas on moving the Convention forward. The forum was chaired by Dr. Ralf Trapp and began with a brief welcome from Director General Rogelio Pfirter. The DG thanked us for coming and expressed his appreciation for the participation of industry, academia and NGOs in the RevCon. The OPCW, the states parties and the other stakeholders all need to work together for the CWC and continue to be “dedicated to peace and security and the improvement of the human condition.”
Next United Kingdom Ambassador Lyn Parker, Chair of the Open-Ended Working Group for the preparation for the Second Review Conference said a few words. He outlined the extensive preparations for the conference and is looking forward to the upcoming discussions between the states parties, but also attached importance input from us.
The first panel of the meeting focused on “creating a more secure world through the Chemical Weapons Convention” and Daniel Feakes of the Harvard Sussex Program was the first speaker. Continue reading