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Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (CWC) was developed at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to prohibit the chemical weapons as a whole class of weapons mass destruction. The Convention was adopted on 3 September 1992, and opened for signature on 13 January 1993 in Paris. The Convention came into force on 29 April 1997.

To implement the aims of the Convention in April 1997 the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was created with headquarters in the Hague (Kingdom of the Netherlands).

As of 2021, the Convention comprised 193 States Parties. Israel has signed the Convention but have not ratified it. Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan have not signed and have not joined the Convention.

The Republic of Belarus is one of the first countries in the world that have signed (14 January 1993) and ratified (11 June 1996) the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

According to the provisions of Article VII of the Convention, CWC National Authority has been established at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.

Belarus has never had neither chemical weapons stockpiles nor its production facilities. The main task at the national level is to control the chemical industry to ensure that these enterprises carry out activities that are not contrary to the provisions of the Convention.

The Republic of Belarus legislation has been set in compliance with the Convention. According to the OPCW, Belarus is the country that established the most effective measures at the national level to implement the Convention including export/import licensing of chemicals’. Besides, Belarus assisted other member states in implementation their obligations under the Convention. Belarus’ legislation was used as the pattern to develop relevant legal acts to implement the Convention in Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine and Tajikistan. Belarusian experts have been invited by the OPCW to provide legal advice to other Convention States Parties (Tajikistan, Mongolia and Azerbaijan).

The Law of the Republic of Belarus № 105-3 “On Ratification of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Belarus and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on the privileges and immunities of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons" came into force on 25 May 2002.

Nowadays Belarus has four companies that produce chemicals controlled by the Convention (“Polymir” JSC “Naftan” (Novopolotsk), JSC “Grodno Azot”, (Grodno), JSC “Mogilevkhimvolokno” (Mogilev), JSC “Lakokraska” (Lida).

As a result of inspections of these companies the OPCW confirmed that their activities fully complied with the provisions of the Convention.

The Republic of Belarus was elected to the Executive Council of the OPCW four times (in 1997, 2002, 2006 and 2014).

Belarus annually submits necessary national reports on production, import and export of chemicals, controlled by the Convention.

A significant impetus to the bilateral cooperation was given by the official visit of the Director General of the OPCW Mr A. Uzumcu.

Participation in the OPCW gives Belarus an opportunity to use the Organisation’s data bank free of charge and to receive consultation assistance in the elimination accidents at chemical industry facilities.

Belarusian scientists in chemistry, experts in the field of chemical protection, customs and border service’s officers are actively involved in number of the OPCW training courses and programmes to improve their skills and broaden their expertise.

From 2013 to 2019 under the aegis of the OPCW, the training center of the University for Civil Protection of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Belarus hosted 10 courses on chemical protection from the effects of chemical attacks and man-made chemical disasters attended by more than 170 experts from different countries.

Belarus considers the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as a key disarmament tool for strengthening peace and stability. Under the initiative of our country which was unanimously supported by the member states the International Day of the OPCW has been established.

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