News from the OPCW

On July 10 the OPCW Open-Ended Working Group on Terrorism met and invited European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove and Spanish counter-terrorism expert Pedro Ríos Calvo as guest speakers. The Open-Ended Working Group on Terrorism was established in 2001 to examine the OPCW’s contribution to global anti-terrorism efforts.

Also, the Executive Council released a Draft Report of the OPCW on the Implementation of the CWC in 2007 for the consideration and approval of the Conference.

June Issue of Chemical Disarmament Quarterly Focuses on Second Review Conference

The June issue of the OPCW publication Chemical Disarmament Quarterly is now available. Its main focus is on the Second Review Conference of the CWC which took place April 7-18 in the Hague.

This issue contains the opening statement by Director General Pfirter and the opening message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. It also includes the perspectives on the Conference and its progress by Conference Chairperson Ambassador Waleed Ben Abdel Karim El Khereiji of Saudi Arabia, Open-Ended Working Group Chair Ambassador Lyn Parker of the United Kingdom, Ambassador Eric M. Javits of the United States, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and China representatives Ambassador Oscar de los Reyes Ramos and Justo A. Quintero Mendez of Cuba and the Mission of South Africa on behalf of the Group of African States Parties. Several of the perspectives mention the difficulty in reaching agreements on the content and wording of the review conference final document. However, it was also noted that despite the painstaking process, commitment to the CWC, its fundamental principles, and the will to continue international cooperation for the future of the CWC all remained strong.

Also featured in this issue are perspectives from the NGO and industry communities. There is a short article by Daniel Feakes of the Harvard-Sussex Program and Richard Guthrie from CBW Events which in addition to their take on the RevCon, discusses the role of NGOs in the CWC. This year the RevCon was more ‘NGO-friendly’ than in the past, though more participation will be beneficial in the future. Niel Harvey who represented the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and the European Council for the Chemicals Industry (CEFIC) at the RevCon authored an article that brings up of some of the issues of the CWC/OPCW communicating with and engaging the industry community. After encouraging industry participation in the drafting of the CWC, the OPCW needs to continue to work with industry officials. Chemical production facilities are subject to OPCW inspections under the CWC and as national CW stockpiles are diminished, industry will be the focus of the CWC.

OPCW Open Forum Summary

The OPCW has provided on its website a summary of the Second Review Conference Open Forum “The Chemical Weapons Convention – recent experience and future prospects.”

The Open Forum took place on April 9, 2008 at OPCW Headquarters during the Second Review Conference of the CWC. It provided an opportunity for NGO, industry, and academic representatives to address the CWC members. The full presentations from the Forum are also available.

I also attended the Open Forum and posted a report on it on April 10.