Seminar: Multilateral Cooperation for Security

“Multilateral Cooperation for Security: The Example of

Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)”

Organised by

South Asian Strategic Stability Institute

10 January 2012

A Seminar was conducted at Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI) on Tuesday 10 th of January 2012, titled “Multilateral Cooperation for Security: The Example of Chemical Weapons Conventions (CWC)”, with the collaboration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, South Asian strategic Stability Institute (SASSI), Department of International Relations, QAU & Institute of Strategic Studies Research & Analysis (ISSRA), NDU. H.E. Ambassador Ahmet Uzumch, Director General, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) the Hague, was the Chief Guest of the seminar.

The seminar was chaired by Chairman ISSI Ambassador (retd) Gul Hanif. Ambassador Gul Hanif in his opening remarks welcomed the honourable chief guest and guest speakers. Later he said that we have a new generation of threats and risks and this is case in situation of violence by non-state actors. He mentioned that the case of chemical warfare was central to the political and academic debate on disarmament law and negotiation, and cooperation amongst states on a multi-planar level. He said that we are able to rely upon robust regimes. And most important point is to see the loop holes and grey areas. In this context we need collective efforts.

Second speaker of the seminar was Dr. Irfan Yusuf Shami, Director General Disarmament & CWC National Authority discussed about Pakistan’s on going collaboration with CWC. He emphasized that the CWC remained to be the only international treaty in recent history that has unilaterally and uncategorically called for the complete destruction of chemical weapons. According to Dr Shami, both the CWC and the OPWC are fundamental cornerstones for international non-proliferation and disarmament efforts. He said that Pakistan continues to follow the obligations of CWC since 1993.Pakistan participated in international and regional events of CWC. Pakistan remains fully committed to work with CWC and OPCW.

 Air Cmdr Khalid Banuri Director ACDA Strategic Plans Division said that the work of CWC is assumed as a success story. CWC is the most widely recognized and groundbreaking treaty due to the fact that its implementation was a robust example of effective multi-lateralism at work. Yet complete universality and mutual cooperation is essential to safe the world from threat of chemical weapons. And this is the only way to ensure security.

Brig Muhammad Khurshid Khan, Director Internal Studies & Centre of Excellence for 4 th Generation warfare, ISRA, NDU expressed his views on the topic of “Applying OPCW Model on current and emerging international security threats”. He said to apply this OPCW model on current threats we need mutual and sincere cooperation. According to him, the CWC has managed to make tremendous progress in spite of a myriad of challenges. One pertinent challenge that still exists within the CWC was that there were a number of state parties who had signed but not yet ratified the treaty: moreover, these states were exceptionally vulnerable to conflict due to insecure internal domestic and political situations.

Dr Zafar Jaspal, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad described the WMD terrorism and it countermeasures and further he elaborate on the multilateral cooperation discussed the implications of increasing globalization and fast paced development: these two factors, he said, have made it extremely difficult to control and monitor the proliferation of weapons. In particular he pointed to the dual use of technology and how this phenomenon coincided with increasingly porous borders to make the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons a very serious threat to mankind.

Dr Maria Sultan, Director South Asian Strategic Stability Institute emphasized on the role of NGO’s under the Chemical weapon convention. She commended the OPWC for having taken tremendous initiative, but also said there needs to be continued working on policy making at the micro and macro levels in order to create a successful interface for effective negotiation.

Last speaker of the session was H.E Dr Ahmet Uzumcu, Director General of the OPCW atThe Hague. He expressed his sincere gratitude to the Government of Pakistan for its invitation to visitIslamabad. He acknowledgedPakistan’s immensely constructive role in helping the OPCW reach its target of a world free of chemical weapons. Dr Uzumcu recognized that the value and importance of multilateralism depended greatly on sustainable progress: especially since there was no alternative to multilateralism in combating current and future international challenges in the context of a globalization.

Dr Uzumcu said that the case of chemical weapons in particular should provide hope and encouragement. Dr Uzumcu described the objective of the CWC as singularly encompassing peace and security as the collective responsibility of all member states, and verified the destruction of over 71% of international weapon stockpiles. He stated that the development of national preparedness was an essential task so that states could respond appropriately in the eventuality of an attack or accident. He said that more than 2000 verifications had been conducted in over 80 countries. He ended by acknowledging the support extended byPakistanto the OPWC, and projected that by 2016, only 1% of weapons will remain to be destroyed.

The session was followed by question and answer session. This session proved to be an interactive session.