29 April 2010
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12864
DC/3224

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Universal Membership of Chemical Weapons Convention Remains Significant Challenge,

 

Says Secretary-General in Message for Day Commemorating Victims

 


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare, today, 29 April:


The Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on this date 13 years ago, establishes far-reaching rights and obligations aimed at freeing the world of chemical weapons.


Important advances have been made in achieving that great goal.  As of 31 March 2010, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has verified the destruction of 58 per cent of the world’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles.  Eighty-nine per cent of all chemical weapons production facilities have been destroyed or converted to peaceful uses.  Three States have eliminated their chemical weapon stockpiles.  The OPCW has also conducted more than 4,000 inspections in 81 States parties, including verification activities at commercial enterprises, which testifies to the support the global chemical industry has given to achieving the goals of the Convention.


However, full implementation of the Convention and achieving universal membership remain significant challenges.  As Depositary of the Convention, I urge the States that have not yet become parties to do so without further delay.


New developments in science and technology have the potential to make it easier to produce chemical weapons.  There is also the risk that non-State actors will acquire such weapons.  Additional collective efforts will be essential in achieving progress on each of the key areas covered by the Convention:  disarmament; non-proliferation; international cooperation; assistance and protection.


The elimination of all weapons adaptable to mass destruction was a goal found in the first resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.  The United Nations will continue to do its part in this effort, including through strengthening its partnership with the OPCW.


On this annual observance, let us honour the victims of chemical warfare by reaffirming our commitment to strengthening the Convention, which is the only instrument that bans an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under strict international verification.  Let us also remember the suffering of the families of these victims, as we work together to free the world, once and for all, from the horrors of each and every weapon of mass destruction.


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For information media • not an official record