The OPCW has 193 Member States
that worktogether to rid the world of chemical weapons.
But how do so many countries dothat?
How is the OPCW governed?
Countries that commit to the Chemical WeaponsConvention
are both States Parties to the Convention
and Member States of the OPCW.
Together, Member States oversee and implement the articles of the Convention
through the193-member Conference of the States Parties
and a 41-member Executive Council.
Bothare supported by the Technical Secretariat.
Before exploring the role andfunction of each body,
let's talk about Member States.
Each Member State namesa Permanent Representative to the OPCW.
When a new Permanent Representative arrives,
they present their credentials to the OPCW Director-General,
demonstrating that theyare their country's official representative.
Member States are organised into regional groups:
Latin America and the Caribbean,
and Western Europe and Other Group.
The groups facilitate the coordination of policy positions,
and help formulate consensus.
Now, backto who does what in the OPCW.
The Conference of the State Parties is a principle and plenary organof the OPCW
and includes all States Parties.
It meets in The Hague for one week every year.
The Conference oversees the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,
promotes its goals,and reviews compliance with the treaty.
It also sets the strategic direction of the OPCW
and thebudget and program of the Technical Secretariat.
If consensus decision making is not possible,
a vote is held and with each Member State having one vote.
There are no vetoes.
A two-thirds majorityof present and voting members is required for substantive matters.
The Conference of theStates Parties also provides an opportunity for civil society
to share how they helpuphold the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The Executive Council is composed of 41 MemberStates
that are elected by the Conference of the States Parties and rotate every two years.
TheCouncil meets in the Ieper Room at OPCW Headquarters
at least three times per year.
It supervisesthe activities of the Technical Secretariat
and is responsible for promoting the effectiveimplementation of
and compliance with the Convention.
It makes recommendations to the Conference of the States Parties
on specific actions that could be taken.
TheExecutive Council also has considerable power in implementing the Convention
without referenceto the Conference of the States Parties.
It can form agreements with State Parties
onassistance and protection against chemical weapons.
It can also negotiate agreementsfor verification activities.
The Technical Secretariat implements decisions
taken by the Conference of the States Parties and the Executive Council
and carries out functionsassigned to it in the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Led by the OPCW Director-General,
the TechnicalSecretariat has about 500 staff members recruited from over 80 OPCW Member States.
They are responsible for carrying out the Convention's verification measures,
and providing technical assistance to Member States.
This assistance rangesfrom helping countries implement the Convention,
to ensuring preparedness in case of a chemicalattack,
to promoting the peaceful use of chemistry.
Learn more at opcw.org