The nations of the world are on the verge of signing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which provides for a comprehensive ban on these weapons of mass destruction and the most comprehensive and intrusive verification system of any global treaty in history. It includes challenge Inspections “anytime anywhere without the right of refusal.” To implement the treaty, it will establish the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW will be responsible for overseeing and verifying both the prohibition against producing chemical weapons and the destruction of existing stocks. It will also have the power to declare non-compliance and recommend action against violators, a significant advance in arms control.
The implementation of the CWC will require more parliamentary action than any other arms control treaty in history. Parliaments must 1) ratify the convention, 2) enact penal legislation, 3) provide funds for a new international authority (the OPCW), 4) establish a National Authority to communicate with the OPCW and 5) review relevant export controls. MPs must also appropriate funds for the destruction of the stockpiles and production, facilities in those states possessing chemical weapons.
ThE CWC will be a model for future arms control treaties. As such, it must be implemented so as to provide a standard for the development of meaningful and effective arms control and international organisations in the post-Cold War world.
Reproduced from the Newsletter of Parliamentarians for Global Action.