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Preparing the 4th CWC Review Conference: Civil Society – 1

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Possible Priorities for the Fourth CWC Review Conference and for the OPCW in the Next Five Years

Statement by Dr John Hart (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – SIPRI)*
Presented at: Open-Ended Working Group for the Preparation of the Fourth Review Conference (OEWG-RC), Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), The Hague, Netherlands, 16 April 2018
I would like to thank the OPCW and the Open-Ended Working Group for the Preparation of the Fourth Review Conference (OEWG-RC) for the opportunity to participate in today’s meeting. I would also like to thank all others who have been involved in organising this session, as well as the participants.

Review Conferences traditionally evaluate the implementation of a treaty article-by-article. The Member States reaffirm their political commitment to the regime and its legal norms. Review Conferences ideally put in place or strengthen mechanisms for consultations and clarification in order to maintain and strengthen implementation practice and the unity of purpose of the Member States.

The default position of the Member States for the routine declaration and verification system is usually to limit the cost, scope and level of intrusiveness to that deemed to be sufficient for effective treaty implementation. This position might be modified somewhat in light of efforts to maintain and strengthen institutional capacity and the re-balancing of institutional resources as the destruction of declared chemical weapons stockpiles nears completion (see also the Scientific Advisory Board’s recommendations of 30 April 2018, RC-4/DG.1).
Two questions have been posed for this session:

  1. What should the Fourth Review Conference seek to address as a matter of priority?
  2. What should be the priority areas for the OPCW in the next five years and why?

The points listed below could serve as a basis to address both questions. While their degree of importance varies, all are of operational relevance.

  1. Review social media platforms and information exchange apps used in
    industry, research and training sectors for possible treaty relevance (e.g., to promote chemical safety and security; and education and outreach).
  2. Review technology absorption indicator systems (e.g., by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD) and their potential relevance for structuring analyses of science and technology (S&T) developments.
  3. Assess case studies involving inter-and intra-regional cooperation on chemical security for comparison against OPCW’s programme of work.
  4. Further map chemical security certification frameworks and practices with a view towards improving awareness of chemical industry capabilities and trends of verification relevance.
  5. Further review state-of-the-art autonomous and semi-autonomous platforms for chemical security (e.g., the use of UAVs for chemical facility security and safety monitoring).
  6. Assess the suitability and desirability of incorporating autonomous and semi-autonomous platforms into approved inspection equipment lists for use in investigations of alleged use (IAU), and/or routine/non-routine inspections. Adjust and validate standard operating procedures (SOPs) and work instructions (WIs) accordingly.
  7. Consider the development/further development of templates and scenarios to utilise the Rapid Response and Assistance Mission (RRAM) capabilities/model for counter-terrorist scenarios.
  8. Consider the implementation of a focused, time limited project to document for knowledge management purposes the 2018 Technical Assistance Visit (TAV) findings and lessons-learned.
  9. Consider the implementation of a focused, time limited project to document for knowledge management purposes the Declarations Assessment Team (DAT) and Fact-finding Mission (FFM) findings and lessons-learned.
  10. Consider how Single Small-Scale Facility (SSSF) declarations under the treaty’s routine verification regime could support efforts by States Parties to strengthen national implementation, including in the context of anti-terrorism investigative measures.
  11. I hope that this provides a useful basis for today’s discussion. Thank you.

*The views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

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