Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, His Majesty the King of the Netherlands and Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders. Second Deputy Director-General of OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Mr. Hamid Ali Rao, the OPCW’s Chairperson of the Conference of the States Parties, H.E. Dr Christoph Israng, the Mayor of The Hague, H. E. Mrs Pauline Krikke and Kings Commissioner to the Province of South Holland, Mr Jaap Smit.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 26 April 2017 — In the presence of His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) today marked the 20th Anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the founding of the OPCW during a solemn ceremony held at the Ridderzaal (Hall of the Knights) in The Hague.
“We have come together to rededicate ourselves to peace, security and progress. Those are the abiding objectives of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the essence of all our endeavours at the OPCW,” expressed the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, in his opening statement.
Ambassador Üzümcü paid homage to the memory of victims of chemical weapons across the world: “Many survivors continue to endure painful suffering despite the years that have elapsed since exposure. Some are present here today. They remind us of the human toll when morality is recklessly abandoned and universal norms callously breached.”
He reminded guests that “the work of the OPCW represents the most effective response to such cruelty; a ray of hope illuminating a dark shadow on our history.”
During the ceremony, the King together with OPCW’s Director-General, unveiled a plaque acknowledging the Organisation’s anniversary. The plaque will on display at OPCW Headquarters next to the plaque dedicated by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix on the occasion of the OPCW’s 10th anniversary.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr António Guterres, sent a special video message to the OPCW, while keynote remarks featured Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocate; Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, H.E. Mr Bert Koenders; H.E. Dr Christoph Israng, the Mayor of The Hague, H. E. Mrs Pauline Krikke.
The Commemorative Ceremony was attended by 450 Permanent Representatives and other delegates from OPCW Member States; chemical weapon victims; leaders of international organisations, chemical industry and civil society; and dignitaries from the Netherlands.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
This achievement is the result of a global endeavour – involving nations, chemical industry, scientists, and civil society – to create and enforce the world’s most successful international disarmament treaty. For its efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.