U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency Director Meets with OPCW Director General


The Hague, Netherlands—May 15, 2023— Ambassador Fernando Arias, Executive Director of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), met with US Defense Threat Reduction Agency Director Rebecca Huisman at OPCW headquarters in The Hague.

“As the OPCW celebrates the opening of its new Chemtech Center, I am honored to be able to speak on behalf of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to discuss future cooperation between the organizations,” Haasman said.

The Director-General briefed Ms. Huisman on the OPCW’s progress in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention. Both officials discussed challenges and opportunities in disarmament and non-proliferation in the context of the current international security environment.

Ambassador Arias emphasized that the OPCW’s new Chemical Technology Center (Chemtech Center) will play a key role in strengthening the organization’s capacity to address the threat of chemical weapons around the world.

“The Center will ensure that the OPCW is responsive to rapid advances in science and technology, a key factor in preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons,” he said. “Furthermore, the center will enable us to provide more advanced training and capacity-building activities to experts in both the Secretariat and OPCW Member States to strengthen our chemical emergency response capabilities. ”

“The Chemtech Center will ensure that the OPCW continues to carry out all its tasks effectively and efficiently in accordance with the Convention and relevant decisions of the Organization’s policy-making bodies,” he stressed.

The Secretary-General concluded the visit by stressing the importance of the Fifth Review Conference (RC-5) to the successful implementation of the Convention. RC-5 will be held in The Hague from May 15th to 19th.

Background

The United States of America (USA) has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997. The United States is a member of the OPCW’s executive body, the Executive Council, and is responsible for facilitating its effective implementation. Monitor compliance and adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention and oversee the activities of the Organization’s Technical Secretariat.

The United States is in the process of completing the destruction of its remaining chemical weapons stockpile, as determined by the Conference of the Parties. More than 98% of the US declared stockpile has been confirmed destroyed.

The ChemTech Center is a significant upgrade of OPCW’s research, analytical and capacity-building activities. It serves both as a repository of knowledge for addressing chemical threats around the world and as a broader resource for fostering professional dialogue, exchange and cooperation in promoting the peaceful and safe use of chemistry. Serves as a platform for the OPCW community.

The new facility will also help strengthen Member States’ capacities related to verification tools, detection and response in the event of a chemical emergency.

The ChemTech Center is located in the Heron Business Park in the Pinecker Notdorp suburb of The Hague, close to the OPCW headquarters.

As the implementing agency of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 member states, oversees the global effort to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the treaty entered into force in 1997, it has become the most successful disarmament treaty to eliminate all types of weapons of mass destruction.

Over 99% of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. OPCW won his 2013 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.

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