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Roundtable invitation: Syria’s Chemical Demilitarization

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Syria’s Chemical Demilitarization:

Progress, Challenges, and Lessons

A Roundtable Discussion with
Dr. Paul F. Walker, Amb. Serguei Batsanov, Dr. Ralf Trapp, & Dr. Jean Pascal Zanders

Introductory Remarks by Dr. Alexander Likhotal

Organized by Green Cross International, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, and the Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition

Monday, May 19, 2014, 17:00-19:00
WMO Building, 7 bis avenue de la Paix, 2d floor
Vieira de Mello auditorium

Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in September 2013 made it the 190th State Party to the Convention with only six countries now remaining outside the treaty regime. This historic event, which occurred under very special circumstances, set in motion the unprecedented international efforts under the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations with the view of dismantling the CW program, including elimination of stockpiles, production facilities, and weapon systems – in the hostile and dangerous environment of a fierce civil war. Since 24 April 2014 over 90% of Syria’s declared chemicals (precursors and warfare agents) have been either destroyed in-country or shipped out of Syria for neutralization on board the MV Cape Ray in the Mediterranean and final destruction at facilities in Finland, Germany, the UK, and the US. This panel of experts will review the history of this process, missed deadlines, current progress, ongoing challenges, allegations of use of chemicals in warfare, and implications for the Syrian civil war.

Paul F. Walker is International Director of the Green Cross Environmental Security and Sustainability Program and manages the Washington DC office for Green Cross International. He is also coordinator of the international CWC Coalition (NGO Network around CWC and OPCW).
Sergey Batsanov is Director of the Geneva Office of the Pugwash Conferences, former Director for Special Projects in the OPCW, and former Soviet/Russian Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

Ralf Trapp is independent consultant on chemical and biological arms control; formerly held several key positions at OPCW.
Jean Pascal Zanders owns and runs “The Trench” – an independent consultancy and research initiative on the future of disarmament. Member of the Council of the Pugwash Conferences. He was formerly with the EU Institute of Security Studies in Paris.

Alexander Likhotal is President of Green Cross International.

Please RSVP to Carole Apotheloz at by COB Friday, May 16th. Seating is limited and reservations will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Light refreshments will be served at 17:00. You may be asked for a photo ID at the entrance.

Approximate schedule:
17:00 – Doors open. Light refreshments.
17:15 – Welcoming remarks: Alexander Likhotal, President, Green Cross International
17:30-17:45 – Bold experiment: convincing a country at war to join disarmament treaty. Lead: S. Batsanov.
17:45-18:05 – How the process works: Technical innovation in support of political breakthrough. Lead: P. Walker
18:05-18:15 – Q & A
18:15-18:25 – Investigations of alleged CW Use in Syria Lead: J.P.Zanders
18:25-18:35 – Lessons for OPCW, UN, and the Region; lessons for Syria. Lead: R. Trapp and S. Batsanov
18:35-19:00 – Q & A
19:00 – Closure of the meeting

 About the sponsoring organizations:

Green Cross International: International NGO with a focus on protection of environment through demilitarization and remediation. Actively contributed to safe destruction of CW stockpiles in the US and Russia under the CWC. National affiliates in 30+ countries. HQ in Geneva.

Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs: International NGO (network) of scientists for the prevention of nuclear conflict and for elimination of nuclear and other WMD. Provided science-based advice to CWC negotiations. Contributed through track II process to Syria’s accession to the CWC. Involved in track II process on Syrian crisis. Nobel Peace Prize 1995. Rome-London-Geneva-Washington D.C.

CWC Coalition: International network of NGOs in support of the CWC and OPCW. Actively participates in OPCW annual Conferences of States Parties, assists NGOs with bringing their messages to the attention of States Parties and OPCW. The Hague – Washington D.C.

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