Security and Defence

Reports and papers

Chemical Weapons Challenges Ahead: Past and Future of the OPCW

23 Oct 2017 - 13:05
Source: OPCW / Flickr
With a case study on Syria

In 2017 the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) celebrates its 20th anniversary. Looking back at these 20 years, one can hardly deny that the organisation has been successful: it has facilitated the almost universal disarmament of chemical weapons, and not always under easy circumstances. Yet, success is not always rewarded. While the OPCW can be regarded as a highly successful organisation, its reward is a discussion on its viability. Can the OPCW reduce its size and financial resources now that its verification of chemical weapons disarmament is almost finished, or could the organisation change its focus towards other challenges regarding chemical weapons? This policy debate has already been ongoing for several years, but so far without any clear-cut decisions.

This report examines the track record of the organisation in the light of the questions raised about the OPCW’s future. It aims to offer some insights into the challenges and options for the future, as well as to identify potential steps that policy makers could take to prepare the OPCW for the future.

The report, fully entitled ‘Chemical Weapons Challenges Ahead: The Past and Future of the OPCW - With a Case Study on Syria’, can be downloaded here.