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Number: 2001-057-1-020

Title: Impact of scientific developments on the Chemical Weapons Convention

Task Group
: Edwin D. Becker

Thomas D. Inch, Detlef Maennig, George W. Parshall, Douglas J. Raber, and Jo Husbands

[The first three constitute the Program Committee for the Workshop; the last two from the US National Academies are providing staff support.]

Completion Date: 2003

To provide advice to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] on scientific developments that may have an impact on the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC] and on the Review Conference for the CWC to be held by the States Parties in October 2003.

The CWC, which entered into force in 1997 and has been ratified by 143 nations, prohibits the use of chemicals as weapons of war and requires the destruction of existing stockpiles of such weapons. This treaty is implemented by the OPCW, which consists of the 143 States Parties, the Executive Council, and the OPCW Secretariat (which is responsible for monitoring the destruction of weapons, monitoring international transfers of chemicals that are recognized as weapons or their immediate precursors, and for inspecting chemical production facilities in member countries.

The operation of the CWC is to be reviewed at an international conference in October 2003. In recognition of the many scientific developments since the drafting of the treaty, OPCW has arranged with IUPAC to provide advice on such topics as new methods of synthesis, changes in chemical processing that could significantly affect the design and appearance of chemical production facilities, new analytical methods (currently available and on the horizon) that may facilitate OPCW inspections, newer methods of destruction of chemical weapons, etc. In addition, IUPAC will consider aspects that may be relevant to the prevention of the use of chemical weapons by terrorists.

Background information on the Chemical Weapons Convention is available at www.opcw.org.

IUPAC organized a Workshop held in Bergen, Norway, July 1-3, 2002 to explore these issues, with an attendance of 80-100. An International Advisory Board, with representation from 17 countries, aided the Program Committee in formulating the program and obtaining the best international scientific input.
> Conference report - Chem. Int. 24(5), 2002

Following the Workshop, a report was provided to OPCW
> News release - November 5, 2002 - also published in Chem. Int. 25(1) 2003

This report and the proceedings are published in Pure and Applied Chemistry 74(12), pp. 2229-2352, 2002.

From the press
> Scientific advances impact chemical arms treaty, C&EN, 18 Nov 2002, p. 54. Online > pubs.acs.org/cen [ACS ID & pwd required] (link 30 Nov 02)
> Chemical Weapons Convention - First Major Review Completed, CI, July 2003, p.9.


Last update: 19 February 2003

<project announcement published in Chem. Int. 24(1) 2002>


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