World Forum, Convention Centre, The Hague,

 28 th November – 2 nd December, 2011

According to the rules of procedure, 32 and 33, South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) was invited to attend the sixteenth state parties.

 A general meeting of the Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition of 16 th Chemical Weapons Convention Conference of State parties was held on the 28 th of November, 2011 at the OPCW Head Quarters.

In the general meeting Dr. Paul Walker, Global greenUSA, in his presentation “Chemical Weapons Demilitarization “outlined the declared chemical weapons stockpiles. Talking about the US-Chemical Weapons Demilitarization Program he stated that from year 1990 to present,USAhad destroyed about 89% of its chemical weapons. In his concluding remarks he stated that major progress has been made since states are 100% committed and the schedule delays were inevitable due to escalating costs, technological challenges, environment and public health protection.

Ms. Irene, Chair of Citizen’s Advice Commission in her presentation “Coloradoand the Chemical Weapons Demilitarization Program” stated that the destruction program in pueblo involves building partners.  In her concluding remarks she said that the goal is complete destruction of all weapons and components.

Craig William, Director of Chemical Weapons, Working Group, in his presentation “Chemical Weapons Disposal inKentucky” generally talked about the storage/repair of general stockpiles and the repairs of the general supplies. Mr. William in his presentation talked about the blue grass chemical activity and stated that they were about 40% complete and were in the process of installing equipment and also fully committed in destroying the chemical weapons. In his concluding remarks he stated that a partnership for safe chemical weapons destruction was needed.

Mr. Sege Baxonov of Pugwash emphasized that the document titled “S951/2011 OF 25 th July” should be studied carefully as it states what it does and where the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) went as many did not understand the debate when the treaty was being negotiated.

Micheal Crowly, Project Coordinator of Disarmament Research Centre in his presentation “Regulation of riot controlled agent/Munitions, means of delivery and dispersal” and defined Riot Control Agents (RCA) by quoting the definition given in article 2.7, “…….expressedly prohibits the use of spray and fogging devices……” and named the multi barrel launchers for ‘non-lethal” munitions. In his concluding remarks he stated that the development of criteria for establishing prohibited RCA means of delivery should be initiated.

Margaret Muturi, Phd of Kenyatta University in her presentation, “The Future of OPCW: The African Perspective” was of the view that the key concern for Africa is Libya as it must ensure destruction of the entire chemicals and stated that the OPCW in Africa played a proactive role in Africa in the promotion of economic, scientific and technological development. In her concluding remarks she stated that universalization and full implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) inAfricais possible as it supports the OPCW shift of focus from disarmament to non-production and international cooperation.

Mr. Andrew C. Weber, Assistant Secretary of Defense gave a presentation on the “US Chemical Demilitarization Program “on 29 th November 2011 at the OPCW Headquarters.

 In his presentation he stated that theUSAhas made a lot of progress in the destruction. Quoting figures he said that 89.75 % of chemical weapons have been destroyed in November 2011 and by April 2012USAwill be able to destroy almost 80% of its stockpiles. Concluding his discussion he stated that towards destruction theUSprocesses an ongoing commitment of 100 % elimination of chemical weapons.

A third general meeting of the Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition of 16th Chemical Weapons Convention Conference of State parties was held on 29 th of November, 2011 at the OPCW Head Quarters.

In the CWCC meeting the Director General Ahmet Uzumcu in his opening remarks discussed the critical phase which the OPCW is currently undergoing with the April 2012 chemical weapons destruction deadline issue, as well as questions on universality and national implementation. He also spoke of the need to redirect parts of the verification budget to non-proliferation issues, of peaceful uses of chemistry, and of emergency response options which will become a priority for many state parties. In his concluding remarks he congratulated the Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition (CWCC) for its important efforts in support of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and encouraged all members to continue to promote the abolition of chemical weapons and to continue to participate in the annual and regional meetings of the OPCW.

Michael Luhan (OPCW head of Media) talked about the efforts the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has undertaken over the past years to reach out to the public and civil society and also to include NGOs into its work.

It is engaged in social media (twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) and he encouraged the coalition to also use social media to reach out to civil society.

Krysztof Paturej, Director, Office of Special Projects talked about the approaches of the OPCW and the collaboration with state parties and UN agencies. He also encouraged the NGOs to write papers “with the OPCW and not for the OPCW.” Also he suggested that the Convention Weapons Convention Coalition (CWCC) could build a plan of work for the 2013 CWC five-year review conference.

The international cooperation and assistance division branch of the OPCW: Mark Albon, Head of implementation support branch gave a very elaborate presentation on the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) at a national level, and the support the OPCW is offering with this. He also reminded all the participants that they can play a significant role in national implementation of the CWC, especially once the national authority is established.

A session on the CWC coalition priorities were discussed which was headed by Dr. Paul Walker, Global Green USA and Nathalie Gysi, Green Cross Switzerland.  It was pointed out that it will be important that the website is updated more frequently in the future and that related information is uploaded in a timely way. For this purpose the help of all coalition members is needed. With regards to going through existing addresses and updating the list, Mr. Nick Robson, Chief coordinator South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) offered to provide them with the information on an online solution for keeping the CWCC mailing list updated.

At the very end, Dr. Ghassan Shahin, Syrian Environment Protection Society, made a short but comprehensive presentation on “The Frantic Race to Nuclear inMiddle East”. He discussed whether the nuclear energy is the best path, nuclear orientation inMiddle Eastcountries, comparison between nuclear energy and renewable energy. In his concluding remarks he stressed that the thoughts for contemplation should be that it is hard to understand how the regimes inMiddle Eastcounties are insisting to proceed in the nuclear path when there are other safe and visible energy choices available in their countries. Also that the Middle East regimes are  behaving in an illogical way that comply with their current interests motivated by security, political and military obsessions.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 11th, 2012 at 1:49 pm and is filed under Event , SASSI Participation . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.