The Hague, Netherlands

28 November 2016

Secretary-General's message to the Twentieth Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention

[Delivered by Mr. Kim Won-soo, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs]

I am pleased to greet the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Convention is an integral element of the international disarmament architecture and makes a crucial contribution to international peace and security. Its near-universality demonstrates the strength of the international norm against the possession and use of chemical weapons and the horror with which humanity views their use.
 
Yet the taboo against chemical weapons is being increasingly threatened by the use of such weapons in the Middle East.
 
The use of toxic chemicals as weapons of war is reprehensible. There can be no justification for the use of these inhumane weapons, by any party under any circumstances.
 
The findings of the OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism over the past year should be of concern to us all. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable, as a matter of urgency. The perpetrators cannot be permitted to act with impunity. For this reason, I welcome the extension of the mandate of the Mechanism for another year. I look forward to continuing to work with the OPCW to support the Mechanism in successfully discharging its renewed mandate.
 
Universality is a crucial component of all effective disarmament instruments. I therefore call upon those States that are not yet a Party to the CWC to accede to it at the earliest possible date.
 
This convention has benefitted significantly from its partnership with industry, which facilitates the technological and economic benefits of chemistry, and advances chemical safety and security. I encourage you to consider how to strengthen this essential component of the Convention and of the work of the OPCW.
 
The partnership between the United Nations and the OPCW needs to be stronger than ever. The road ahead is full of dangerous obstacles, but together, we – the UN, the OPCW and a united international community – can overcome them.
 
Thank you again for your commitment and leadership.  Please accept my best wishes for a fruitful conference.