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National Implementation Efforts 

Review Conference Documents


The first CWC Review Conference (RevCon) was held on April 28 - May 9, 2003 in The Hague, Netherlands. The RevCon is a treaty-mandated function requiring the Conference of States Parties (CSP) to convene every five years after entry into force of the CWC (i.e., April 1997) to undertake reviews of the operations of the Convention. As CSP members, all States Parties are invited to participate in the RevCon.

In preparation for the RevCon, the United States took an active role in developing positions on numerous aspects of CWC implementation. Specifically, the United States circulated a short list of general issues considered a priority for RevCon consideration, to include the role of the CWC in the current security environment, universality (i.e., increasing membership), and enhancing the functioning of the OPCW. Another key issue critical to the credibility and success of the Convention is universal State Party adoption of national implementing measures (e.g., outlawing chemical weapons, establishing a declaration compliance program). Effective implementation of national measures is essential to ensure that individuals or groups do not engage in CWC-prohibited activities and are subject to declaration and on-site verification requirements.

The United States also paid great attention to industry issues during RevCon preparations. A major challenge of CWC verification is to comprehensively, efficiently, and effectively monitor the peaceful use of chemicals while minimizing intrusion and burden upon chemical industry. The United States contended that the RevCon pursue a review and evaluation of all aspects of industry implementation and provide guidance for future activities to the OPCW.

In short, the United States was successful in accomplishing its goals. The Conference produced two documents: a Political Declaration and a Chairman's Text. The Political Declaration is a status statement of the OPCW and covers issues related to universality, national implementing measures and prohibitions on chemical activities and trade for all toxic chemicals and precursors when intended for weapons activities. The Chairman's text is a detailed instruction to the CSP for development of the OPCW's work plan for the next 5 years. Detailing the 'how' of implementation, it calls for a more effective and efficient functioning of the OPCW Technical Secretariat, its industrial verification regime, and for States Parties to honor their obligations regarding national implementing measures, declaration compliance, and full compliance with all the provisions of the Convention. The Chairman's Text calls for specific studies to be conducted and the establishment of timelines for compliance, and recommends topics requiring Executive Council and CSP attention.


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