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Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

Topics Covered:

  1. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  2. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)


What to study?

  • For Prelims: All about OPCW.
  • For Mains: Need for review and a complete ban on chemical weapons.


Context: India has deeply regretted the failure of the Fourth Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (RevCon) to adopt a report by consensus and reiterated its determination to persist with efforts to bring countries together and bridge differences.


Need for review- challenges ahead:

  • There are daunting challenges ahead such as the discovery of new toxic chemicals, advancements in deployment and dissemination techniques.
  • There is an increasing threat of use of chemical weapons by non-state actors such as IS and other terror outfits.
  • The growing complexity of the global security environment calls for greater vigilance and continued efforts by both OPCW and the member states towards achieving general and complete chemical disarmament.
  • Despite best efforts, there has been an increase in allegations and incidents of use of chemical weapons in different parts of the world such as Malaysia, UK and Northern Ireland, the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq.


About OPCW:

The OPCW is an independent, autonomous international organisation with a working relationship with the United Nations.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force in 1997.

  • The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.


The OPCW Member States share the collective goal of preventing chemistry from ever again being used for warfare, thereby strengthening international security. To this end, the Convention contains four key provisions:

  • Destroying all existing chemical weapons under international verification by the OPCW.
  • Monitoring chemical industry to prevent new weapons from re-emerging.
  • Providing assistance and protection to States Parties against chemical threats.
  • Fostering international cooperation to strengthen implementation of the Convention and promote the peaceful use of chemistry.


The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits:

  • Developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining chemical weapons.
  • The direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons.
  • Chemical weapons use or military preparation for use.
  • Assisting, encouraging, or inducing other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity.
  • The use of riot control agents “as a method of warfare.”


Way ahead:

The use of these weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances is unjustifiable. The efforts in the OPCW should be aimed at eliminating all the possibilities of any future use of chemical weapons.

The need of the hour is constructive engagement, dialogue and unity of purpose. This is the only way forward. India remains willing and open for discussions with all States Parties to find ways and means to strengthen the Convention and its effective implementation within the framework of the Convention.


Sources: et.

Mains Question: Discuss the organizational structure, vision and functioning of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).