By Roy Lie Atjam
CSP-27th session of the Conference of the States Parties convened on 28 November -2 December 2022 for their annual meeting. The Conference of the States Parties oversees the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, promotes the Convention’s objectives, and reviews compliance with the treaty. The Conference is made up of representatives of all Member States of the OPCW, each of which has one vote.
A causerie took place with the chairperson of the CSP-27th session of the Conference of the States Parties, H.E. Mr. Vusi Madonsela Ambassador Extraordinary Plenipotentiary of the Republic of South Africa in the Netherlands. Asked about him occupying the chairmanship of such an august institution, Ambassador Madonsela responded.
“It was a privilege of great distinction for my country, and for me personally, to have been nominated by the Africa Group of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention for elevation to the position of Chairperson of the 27th Session of the Conference of States Parties (CSP) on 28 November 2022. This is a position of enormous responsibility, in which I will continue to serve until the 28th Session of the CSP in November/December 2023. I am humbled by the confidence shown in South Africa’s capability to steer the ship through what many had predicted would be stormy waters. I am eternally grateful to all States Parties, without exception, for their cooperation given to me throughout the Conference and their unequivocal support in the period leading to the conference.
Sitting at the helm of the highest policy decision making platform of the OPCW thrust upon me an opportunity to deepen my knowledge and understanding of the policies of the organisation and, more importantly, cement my appreciation of the rules of procedure of the CSP. I now possess a bird’s eye view of the work of the organisation. I am indebted to the African States Parties for their unceasing encouragement to rise to the occasion.
The Chemical Weapons Convention is a landmark international legal instrument, being the first to eliminate an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. The Organisation brings together 193 States Parties to the Convention, which could be described as the world’s most successful disarmament treaty. It enjoys almost complete universality – with only four States yet to join it.
While the almost universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention warrants celebration, the OPCW continues to encourage non-State Parties to ratify it. Despite almost universality of the CWC, the greatest threat of the use of chemical weapons largely emanates from Non-State Actors. This is a matter that the OPCW is seized with, working together with fraternal organisations that collaborate on international efforts against terrorism. Undoubtedly, the OPCW is a great contributor to a safer world: one free of weapons of mass destruction.“