Vol. 22, No. 1
and Notices from Other Societies and Unions
Report of First
Annual Meeting of National Authority Representatives and First Meeting
of Chemical Industry Representatives Organization for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
The Hague, Netherlands,
26-27 June 1999
Benjamin C. Garrett [10704 Cogswell Place, Fairfax
Station, VA 22039-1823 USA; E-mail: [email protected];
Tel.: +1 703 978 1873 (home), +1 703 413 7837 (office); Fax: +1 703
413 8880] has submitted the following report:
Selected Meeting Issues
Presentations by Others
Meeting Administrative Materials
first annual meeting of National Authority [Note 1]
representatives and the first meeting of chemical industry representatives
was held 26-27 June 1999 at the Organization for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons (OPCW), The Hague, The Netherlands. [Note
2] Hosted by the OPCW, the meeting was intended to provide an overview
of OPCW activities, especially those performed in support of inspections.
Most of the meeting consisted of scripted briefings by OPCW staff. Occasional
opportunities were afforded for comments from participants. Attendance
was overwhelmingly from the National Authorities and their delegations,
with chemical industry representatives comprising about ten percent
of the audience.
The presentations demonstrated
that the work of the OPCW is well organized and brisk; that scientific
input is on occasion both solicited and considered; and that additional
work by the OPCW may be needed to maintain the confidence of scientists,
who share in the burden of complying with the Chemical Weapons Convention
(CWC) .[Note 3] The meeting concluded without specific
comments regarding the prospects of a second meeting of chemical industry
representatives and without specific requests for input from nongovernmental
organizations or individuals.
The CWC entered into force in April 1997. At the time
of the meeting, 125 nations had ratified and acceded to the CWC. The
CWC mandates, among other things, that each States Party mus
- declare and destroy all chemical weapon stockpiles on its territory
- undertake certain obligations regarding the destruction of old and
abandoned chemical weapons; [Note 4] and
- submit to an elaborate and potentially intrusive regime of data
declarations and on-site inspections to maintain confidence that prohibited
activities are not taking place.
This meeting marked the first annual gathering of representatives
from the offices of the National Authorities of the States Parties as
well as the first gathering of representatives from chemical industry.
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) was invited
to participate as a representative of chemical industry.
The meeting took place over
a weekend. On the following Monday, 28 June, a week-long session of
the Conference of States Parties began. Therefore, many National Authority
representatives had already gathered in The Hague, and their turnout
at this meeting was excellentóbetween 200 and 250.[Note
5] There were about 25-27 chemical industry representatives. The
agenda, list of participants, and other materials handed out at the
meeting are listed at the end of this report, and copies can be obtained
from the author.
Selected Meeting Issues
The meeting was given over to various presentations,
mostly by OPCW staff. Occasions were afforded for discussion, although
these occasions were limited. The discussion periods were dominated
by three issues:
1. conduct of inspections, with the discussion
topic being experiences of industry as the inspected party;
2. concentration limit
for mixtures containing one or more Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 chemicals
[Note 6] as a component, with the discussion
topic being the lack of harmonization among States Parties regarding
a threshold for reporting relative to the concentration of Schedule
2 or 3 chemical in the mix; and
3. declarations and
inspections for Discrete Organic Chemicals (DOCs),[Note
7] with the discussion topic being the approach the OPCW Inspectorate
might take in conducting inspections of DOC facilities.
Issues of possible interest to the IUPAC membership
that failed to be discussed during this meeting include the following:
- destruction of old and abandoned chemical weapons;
- destruction of chemical weapon stockpiles; and
- conversion of facilities formerly associated with chemical weapons.
The failure to discuss these (and other) issues more
likely reflects the limited time available for discussion of any issues
than it does a conscious effort by the OPCW to avoid confronting these
Conduct of Inspections
Several presentations dealt with the conduct of inspections.
Comments from chemical industry representatives suggested that:
- Industries, in general, have confidence that the OPCW has instituted
procedures to safeguard confidential business information, including
results from on-site inspections.
- Industries are monitoring the time required to comply with inspections
and with other CWC requirements. Data collected to date suggest the
time requirements are modest, but the chemical industries remain concerned
that the time requirements may increase.
- Industries remain unconvinced that the OPCW has placed its monitoring
and inspection requirements into the full context of all such monitoring
and inspecting taking place at any one industrial site. Specifically,
industries must address requests from national and regional authorities
for monitoring and inspecting general site health and safety; labor
practices; compliance with Good Laboratory Practices (GLPs), Good
Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), and similar food- and drug-related
requirements; and reporting of revenue (taxes), including treatment
of tax-free and reduced-tax chemicals. Therefore, the prospect exists
for several inspections occurring simultaneously, each demanding immediate
access and full attention from industry personnel.
The meeting concluded without any position taken on
the issue of the conduct of inspection, and this topic is certain to
be discussed at any future meetings of National Authority and chemical
industry representatives. But the general feeling was that the OPCW
has earned the confidence of both States Parties and industry in the
inspections conducted thus far.
Concentration Limit for Mixtures
For purposes of reporting exports and imports of Scheduled
chemicals, the CWC sets no threshold for the amount (concentration)
of a Schedule 2 or a Schedule 3 chemical present in mixtures. The OPCW
might establish a threshold, but so far has failed to achieve a consensus
on this issue. Therefore, States Parties are free to set their own threshold.
This situation prevails, with some States Parties having no lower limit
(that is, any amount of a Schedule 2 or 3 chemical present in a mixture
requires that the mixture be declared for purposes of export and import).
Other States Parties have set limits or thresholds; 20-30% thresholds
seem common (that is, if a mix contains less than the threshold of a
Schedule 2 or 3 chemical or of all Schedule 2 and 3 chemicals in aggregate,
then that mix is exempt from declaration for export and import purposes).
The lack of harmonization among States Parties in dealing
with Schedule 2 and 3 chemicals in mixtures was important to chemical
industry representatives, as evidenced by papers submitted by industry
groups and by the comments made during the meeting. The OPCW staff appeared
attentive to industry comments, but were unprepared to deal with this
issue in any substantive way. Therefore, there was no sense of closure
on the issue, which is certain to be the subject of any future meeting.
Discrete Organic Chemicals
A States Party is obliged to make an initial declaration
of DOC production facilities for plants "which produced by synthesisÖ[a
DOC] containing the elements phosphorus, sulfur, or fluorine" (CWC,
Verification Annex, Part IX, paragraph 1). Such a DOC is referred to
as a PSF-chemical.
The chemical industry representatives
were particularly interested in the issue of DOC facility inspections
because inspections will start in May 2000, unless the Conference of
States Parties, by consensus, agrees to postpone.[Note
As discussed during the meeting, DOC facility inspections
pose a peculiar challenge both to the inspectors and to the inspected
party. According to the OPCW Inspectorate staff, the objective of the
inspection should be to demonstrate the absence of Schedule 1 chemicals.
Therefore, the inspection exercise proves a negative; that is, the inspectors
must show that no Schedule 1 chemicals are present (in this context,
at a DOC facility producing a PSF-chemical).
To fulfill this objective, the inspector presupposes
the negative: namely, "Schedule 1 chemicals are present". Then
the inspector examines every aspect of the DOC facility to locate a
Schedule 1 chemical and, if none is found, assumes they are all absent.
No threshold has been established for Schedule 1 chemicals, and while
inspection at the molecular level seems absurd, it has not been expressly
ruled out. Therefore, the potential for an intrusive and time-consuming
DOC facility inspection is great.
The OPCW Inspectorateís approach for DOC inspection
differs, however, from the one of demonstrating the absence of Schedule
1 chemicals. The difference seems rooted in political realities and
the consensus-building that typify all OPCW activities. The agreed-upon
approach, as stated during this meeting, is that the inspectors will
examine the facility and its records to determine whether the facility
declaration is consistent with what is observed and what can be deduced
via records. In reality, this inspection documents the validity and
consistency of the DOC declaration, rather than demonstrating the absence
of a Schedule 1 chemical. Therefore, a Schedule 1 chemical might be
found on inspection if and only if its production causes some perceptible
alteration to what one might normally associate with DOC production.
In reality, the DOC production facility inspection
regime will verify the validity of a DOC declaration, rather than demonstrate
the absence of a Schedule 1 chemical. This approach appears manageable
(unlike the approach of demonstrating the absence of a chemical). It
remains unproved whether this approach will also ensure the arms control
objective of prohibiting chemical weapon production.
Because DOC facility inspections begin in 2000, this
issue is certain to merit attention at any followup meeting of chemical
Conclusions and Recommendations
The discussions during the first annual meeting of
National Authority representatives and the first meeting of chemical
industry representatives were enlightening but inconclusive. Several
issues surfaced where the input of scientistsóespecially those
working in chemical industryómight benefit the work of the OPCW
as well as the effectiveness of the CWC. Based on this meeting, there
appears to be no consensus regarding a threshold for Schedule 2 and
3 chemicals in mixtures. Similarly, the approach to inspecting DOC facilities
is evolving. In both instances, IUPAC might consider providing a "Friend
of the Chair" technical paper outlining the scientific and technical
considerations that bear on the risk to the purposes of the CWC.
OPCW Informational Papers
"Guidelines for determining declarable industrial
facilities", Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,
November, 1998, 23 pp.
"The regulation of the international transfer
of chemicals by the Chemical Weapons Convention", Organization for
the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, November, 1998, 4 pp.
OPCW (1998). Images, The Hague, The Netherlands,
36 pp. [Note: Images is a glossy brochure describing
Forgacs, Laszlo (Head, Operations and planning branch,
Inspectorate, OPCW) "Confidential business information (CBI)
issues and resolution during CWC inspections".
Gee, John (Deputy Director-General, OPCW). "Opening
Guerra, Gaston (Head, Declarations branch, Verification
division, OPCW). "Making declarations work, part I (Imports and
"International cooperation programmes" (undated),
Kane, Anand, and Gilliquet, Jean-Nicolas (Policy
officers and Inspectors, Inspectorate, OPCW). "Issues resulting
from industry inspections".
Makhubalo, John (Director, International cooperation
and assistance, OPCW). "Closing Remarks" .
NíGuessan, Eugene (Inspector, Inspectorate,
OPCW). "In-house preparation for inspection team members".
Shimamoto, Shu (Daicel Chemical Industries, Ltd.,
and Japan Chemical Industry Association, Japan). "Low concentration
limit and inspection frequency of Schedule 2 plant site".
Skripin, Yuri (Inspector, Inspectorate, OPCW). "Conduct
of inspection on Schedule 2 facilities, Schedule 3 facilities, and
other chemical production facilities".
Wadhwa, Anil (Head, Government relations and political
affairs branch, External relations division, OPCW). "Issues of
interest to National Authorities and chemical industry".
Yu, Zhiyong (Mission planning coordinator, Operations
and planning branch, Inspectorate, OPCW). "Keeping ready for
inspections. Operational aspects on receiving and escorting inspections".
Presentations by Others
[Australia] Safeguards and nonproliferation office,
Government of Australia. "Making declarations work: Export and
[CEFIC] European Chemical Industry Council/Conseil
Europeen de LíIndustries Chimique (CEFIC). "Discussion
paper." [Topic: Feedback from industry on the implementation of the
[CEFIC] European Chemical Industry Council/Conseil
Europeen de LíIndustries Chimique (CEFIC). "Discussion
paper on low concentration issue."
[Czech Republic] Government of the Czech Republic.
"Status of the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention
in the Czech Republic".
[Japan] Igarashi, Takuya (Chemical weapons control
policy office, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Government
of Japan). "Lesson [sic] from investigation into discrepancies
in import and export data of Schedule 2 and 3 chemicals".
[Pakistan] Government of Pakistan. "Making declarations
work. Pakistanís experience."
[Sweden] Government of Sweden. "Manual for inspections
of Schedule 3-plant sites, 24 June 1999, 24 pp.
[Switzerland] de S·, Liliana (Federal office
of foreign economic affairs, Government of Switzerland). "Dealing
with industry declarations".
Materials [Note 9]
Program for the First Annual Meeting of National
Authorities and Chemical Industry Representatives, The Hague, 26-27
List of Participants, First Annual Meeting of the
National Authorities and Chemical Industry, The Hague, 26-27 June
1. The term "National Authority"
has a precise meaning within the context of the OPCW. A National Authority
is that person, persons, or office designated by a States Party to deal
with the OPCW on issues regarding compliance. [Back
2. This meeting was given various
names by the staff of the OPCW, creating some confusion. The name listed
here is taken from the original invitation distributed by the OPCW.
While the OPCW staff intend to have the gathering of National Authority
representatives be an annual affair, there was no such intention stated
regarding the meeting of chemical industry representatives. [Back
3. The proper name for this arms
control treaty is "Convention on the prohibition of the development,
production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction".
Chemical Weapons Convention and Chemical Weapons Treaty
are commonly used, as is the abbreviation CWC. That abbreviation
is used in this report. All references to the CWC are taken from the
English version. [Back to Text]
4. "Old chemical weapons"
is a category separate from "abandoned chemical weapons". Often,
though, for purposes of discussion, the two are lumped together as "old
and abandoned chemical weapons". That practice is followed here. [Back
5. Many National Authority representatives
are members of the Permanent Delegations of their respective States
Party. Such members have permanent passes to the OPCW and were not required
to register for the meeting. Therefore, the list of participants fails
to capture the presence of such persons, causing a significant undercounting
of overall attendance. The attendance figure given here was derived
by counting attendees (minus OPCW staff). [Back
6. The CWC provides three schedules
of chemicals. In brief, a Schedule 1 chemical is one that has both been
a chemical weapon and poses a high risk to the purpose of the CWC. An
example is sulfur mustard [bis(2-chloroethyl)sulfide]. A Schedule
2 chemical is one that may be a precursor to a Schedule 1 chemical,
poses significant risk to the purposes of the CWC, and is not produced
in large commercial quantities. An example is thiodiglycol [bis(2-hydroxyethyl)sulfide],
used in producing sulfur mustard. A Schedule 3 chemical is one that
has been a chemical weapon, poses a risk, and may be produced in large
commercial quantities. An example is chlorine. [Back
7. The CWC defines a DOC to be
"any chemical belonging to the class of chemical compounds consisting
of all compounds of carbon except for its oxides, sulfides, and metal
carbonates, identifiable by chemical name, by structural formula, if
known, and by [CAS] registry number, if assigned" (Verification Annex,
Part I, paragraph 4). [Back to Text]
8. The Conference of States Parties
met 28 June through 2 July and did not reach a consensus on postponing
DOC facility inspections. Therefore, these inspections should start
in 2000, barring some unforeseen development. [Back
9. A copy can be provided on request
to the author. [Back to Text]