Global perspective Human stories

Secretary-General urges States to work toward world free of chemical weapons

Secretary-General urges States to work toward world free of chemical weapons

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on States to redouble their efforts to eliminate the scourge of chemical weapons, in a message to a gathering of parties to the global treaty banning these instruments of mass destruction.

Countries that have ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention are meeting in The Hague in the Netherlands to review operation of the treaty, which entered into force on 29 April 1997 and enjoys near-universal membership with 183 States Parties.

“Our efforts to build a world free of chemical weapons require that all States Parties adopt, enhance and strengthen the national implementation measures called for under the Convention,” Mr. Ban told the gathering, in a message delivered by Tim Caughley, Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament.

All States Parties have the obligation to destroy their existing chemical weapons and production facilities, the Secretary-General noted. In addition, the possessor States are required to destroy their stockpiles completely before the final deadline of 29 April 2012.

“I call on all possessor States, whether their stockpiles are large or small, to fulfil this solemn obligation,” he said.

Describing the treaty’s impact as “momentous,” Mr. Ban pointed out that some 27,000 tonnes of chemical weapon agents have been destroyed, as well as 2.9 million chemical munitions and containers.

Pledging the UN’s support to promote universal adherence to the Convention and its implementation, he called on those States that have not yet done so to ratify or accede to the treaty as soon as possible.

Formally known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, the treaty aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of these arms by States Parties.