Press release: Dstl hosts 19th Chemical Weapons Demilitarisation Conference


War Hero
The destruction of chemical weapons is a high priority under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The 19th Chemical Weapons Demilitarisation (CWD) Conference, to be held in London on 25-27 May, will provide an opportunity for experts from all over the world to discuss their progress and co-operation in eliminating chemical weapons, and the technical challenges that remain. This year, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Tobias Ellwood will deliver a keynote address at the conference.

The CWD conferences have been held annually around the world since 1998, shortly after the CWC came into force, banning chemical weapons. This year’s event will be attended by the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, and representatives from the USA, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, and several other countries.

Discussions will focus on the progress made by national CWD programmes, destruction technologies, and the technical challenges of carrying out destruction in unusual and demanding circumstances such as those in Syria. Participants will also look at explosive detonation technology, chemical safety and security, recovery of chemical weapons from rivers and seas, and innovative technologies.

Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the OPCW, said:

“A priority for the CWC is to complete the elimination of chemical weapon stockpiles. We are now moving into the final phase of this work, with over 92% of the world’s declared stockpiles now destroyed. The focus of international efforts will then move to preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons. The OPCW is already planning for this, but we still have a number of important challenges to overcome before we can reach this stage.

“I welcome the important role that the CWD Conference continues to play in supporting international efforts to destroy chemical weapons, and contributing to our shared goal of a world free of chemical weapon threats.”

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