The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, H.E. Ahmet Üzümcü, takes pleasure in announcing the decision of the OPCW-The Hague Award Committee to honour Dr Robert Matthews of Australia and the Finnish Institute for the Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (VERIFIN) as the joint recipients of the inaugural OPCW-The Hague Award.
The Award, created by the OPCW as an outcome of its winning of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize and supported by a generous financial contribution from the City of The Hague, is intended to honour and recognise individuals and non-profit, non-governmental organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to achieving a world free of chemical weapons.
Dr Matthews, an Australian national, is an eminent scientist and expert who has dedicated his career to the disarmament and non-proliferation of chemical weapons. He made significant contributions to the final drafting of the Chemical Weapons Convention, as well as to its establishment, implementation and promotion as a unique instrument eliminating an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. The Finnish Institute for the Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (VERIFIN) has been in existence for 40 years and during that time has made a sustained contribution to chemical disarmament by focussing on the development and dissemination of analytical chemistry techniques and tools for the verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. VERIFIN has been instrumental in the OPCW’s efforts since Entry-Into-Force of the Convention to build the capacity of laboratories around the world to provide effective and accurate analysis of CWC-related chemicals, thus strengthening the capacity of the Verification regime which lies at the heart of the Convention.
The nominations for the inaugural Awards represented a strong cross section of nominees and as such it was the decision of the Committee that the Award be shared between the two worthy recipients.
The 2014 Award winners will be honoured at a presentation ceremony to be held at the OPCW Headquarters inThe Hague, The Netherlands on 1 December 2014. The 2014 winners will be presented a medal, a certificate of recognition and a cash prize of €45,000 each.