On Monday 5 March, SIB went to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The event was organized by the Committee for External Activities (CEA). The OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation with 192 Member States. It oversees the global goal of permanently eliminating chemical weapons.
Jianwei Wang, a political researcher at OPCW, gave us a tour through the building and provided us with lots of information. The tour started at the Executive Council Chamber. The Council’s aim is to promote the effective implementation of, and compliance with, the Convention. It has 41 members and in order to ensure the Council’s effectiveness, it is constituted with due regard to the principle of equitable geographical distribution, the importance of the chemical industry, and political and security interests.
After that, Jianwei showed us the Nobel Peace Prize, which the OPCW won in 2013 for their “extensive work to eliminate chemical weapons”. The Norwegian Nobel Committee stated i.a. that: “the conventions and the work of the OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law. Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons.”
Next, we went to a conference room where we received a lot of information about the structure of the Organisation and its current missions. Jianwei explained to us that the work of the OPCW consists of four pillars: Demilitarisation, Non-proliferation, Assistance & Protection, and International Cooperation.
Especially the current situation in Syria and the mission in 2013, which led to the destruction of Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons, had the group’s interest.
After the session was finished, we made a nice group picture at the OPCW.