WASHINGTON DC, April 25, 2011 – Global Green USA chaired the second general session of the CWC Coalition at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, the Netherlands, on April 13, 2011. The day-long meeting brought together representatives from 19 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from 14 countries in Africa, Asia, West and East Europe, and the Americas, with participation by interested delegates from six States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Most of the NGO representatives also participated in a 2-day seminar on the OPCW’s Contribution to Security and Non-Proliferation of Chemical Weapons which took place at the OPCW on April 11-12, 2011.
The CWC Coalition was established under Global Green USA auspices in December 2009 at the 14th annual Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention to promote involvement of civil society – NGOs, academia, think-tanks, and chemical industry – in the international abolition of chemical weapons. Many NGOs from across the globe have joined the Coalition and helped promote universal membership and national implementation of the Convention.
The opening session of the day-long meeting included expressions of support for the work of the Coalition from OPCW delegations that funded participation in the seminar by NGO representatives from developing countries. Ambassador Robert Mikulak from the United States welcomed the Coalition members and emphasized the importance of civil society participation in making the CWC truly successful. Ambassador Eva Bugge from Norway also made opening remarks underlining the importance of NGO involvement in arms control regimes. The German delegation to the OPCW, represented by Ms. Goenke Roscher, hosted a reception for the Coalition and States Parties following the meeting in the OPCW headquarters.
The CWCC meeting agenda included discussion of the Coalition’s 2011 work plan, promoting “universality,” i.e. full membership in the CWC, and full national implementation of the Convention, and proposals to enhance communication and outreach, inter alia. Particular emphasis was placed by many of the participants in helping facilitate full CWC membership in the Middle East where Egypt, Israel, and Syria still remain outside the treaty regime. Discussion also noted the additional four countries which have yet to join the CWC – Angola, Myanmar, North Korea, and Somalia.
OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü addressed the meeting on the future challenges facing the Organization in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention and engaged in a lively roundtable discussion with the participants. He also underlined the importance of NGO participation and the important role which civil society has played in the OPCW since the entry-into-force of the CWC in 1997.
For further information on the CWC Coalition, including a video of Director-General Uzumcu’s address, see http://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-hosts-2nd-general-meeting-of-chemical-weapons-convention-coalition/.