Organ(s)

Category

Related Organizations

Date established

29 April 1997

Resolution

GA res. 55/283(2001)

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was created under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC), negotiated in the Conference on Disarmament and that entered into force on 29 April 1997. Its role is to ensure implementation of the Convention's provisions, including those for international compliance, and to provide a forum for consultation and cooperation. It is an independent inter-governmental organisation, not a UN specialised agency. An Agreement Concerning the Relationship between the UN and the OPCW was signed on 17 October 2000. It was approved by the Conference of States Parties in May 2001 and the UN General Assembly in GA res. 55/283(2001).

The CWC is a global disarmament agreement that bans the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, and provides for the destruction of existing chemical weapons stockpiles and related facilities within a specific timeframe. States Parties undertake never to:

  • Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to anyone
  • Use chemical weapons
  • Engage in military preparations to use chemical weapons
  • Assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under the Convention.

States Parties also undertake:

  • To destroy chemical weapons they own or possess, or that are located in any place under their jurisdiction or control, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention
  • To destroy all chemical weapons they abandoned on the territory of another State Party
  • To destroy any chemical weapons production facilities they own or possess, or that are located in any place under their jurisdiction or control
  • Not to use riot control agents as a method of warfare.

The Convention also regulates the production, processing, consumption and, to some degree, the international transfer of toxic chemicals that can be converted into, or used to produce, chemical weapons. To this end, the OPCW monitors the chemical industry by means of compulsory annual national declarations by States Parties, controls the transfer of some chemicals listed in the Convention, and has a system of routine visits and challenge inspections by OPCW Technical Secretariat inspectors.

  • Conference of States Parties
  • Executive Council

The Conference of the States Parties is the plenary organ consisting of all members of the OPCW. It has the general power to oversee implementation of the Convention and, in this regard, the Conference may make recommendations and take decisions on any questions, matters or issues within the scope of the Convention. The Conference oversees the activities of the Council and Secretariat and may issue guidelines in accordance with the Convention to either of them.

The Conference Chair is Julio Roberto Palomo Silva, Guatemala, who holds office until a successor is elected at the 16th session of the Conference. Vice-Chairs are Bolivia, Chile, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Ukraine and USA.

The Executive Council (EC) considers any issues or matters within its competence affecting the Convention and its implementation, including concerns regarding compliance. It brings non-compliance cases to the attention of the Conference as appropriate. The EC consists of 41 members sitting on a rotational basis, with regard to equitable geographical distribution and the importance of the chemical industry, as well as to political and security interests. Its membership comprises nine African states, nine Asian states, five Eastern European states, seven Latin American and Caribbean states, 10 Western European and Other states, plus one further seat rotating between Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Nominations for election are made from within each region respectively.

The EC Chair is Peter Goosen, South Africa, for one year from 12 May 2011. Vice-Chairs are Argentina, Germany, India and the Russian Federation.

The Conference of States Parties meets annually in The Hague, Netherlands. The 16th session is scheduled to be held from 28 November to 2 December 2011. The 17th session is scheduled to be held from 26 to 30 November 2012. The Executive Council holds three or four regular sessions annually.

As at 31 May 2011, 188 countries are members of the OPCW. Two countries had signed but not yet ratified the Convention. Members' terms of appointment to the Executive Council are from May to May

Aghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Andorra
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Brunei Darussalam
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China
Colombia
Comoros
Congo
Cook Islands
Costa Rica
Cote d'Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
DR Congo
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Fiji
Finland
France
Gabon
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Grenada
Greece
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Holy See
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kribati
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lao PDR
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesoto
Liberia
Libyan AJ
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nauru
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Niue
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
ROK
Republic of Moldova
Romania
Russian Federation
Rwanda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Scrbia
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Suriname
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Tajikistan
Thailand
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Timor-Leste
Togo
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Tuvalu
Uganda
Ukraine
UAE
UK
UR of Tanzania
USA
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Venezuela
VietNam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

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Email: media@opcw.org