I- Presentation of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) (https://www.opcw.org/) is an international governmental organisation with 193 members. It was established by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC); signed in 1993 and entered into force on April 29, 1997.
The Organization works to fulfill the mandate of the aforementioned Convention, which is to cease the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons, to ensure the elimination of the existing stockpiles of these weapons and prevent their re- emergence.
The OPCW aims to ensure the implementation of the Convention (CWC), to achieve its objectives for a world free of chemical weapons and to promote the use of chemistry in the service of peace, progress and economic development.
The Convention and the Organisation occupy an important place in the multilateral disarmament system through the fight against the proliferation and use of chemical weapons. The Organization has made progress in its field, notably in the elimination of stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world. To date, it has been able to verify the destruction of more than 99% of the stockpiles of chemical weapons declared by possessor States.
In December 2013, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the OPCW “for its sustained efforts in favor of the elimination of chemical weapons”..
The main organs of the OPCW
– The Conference of States Parties (193 members): it oversees the application of the Convention and monitors compliance with it. It also oversees the activities of the Executive Council and the Technical Secretariat. It holds annual ordinary sessions and may hold extraordinary sessions.
The Chairmanof the Conference, ten (10) Vice-Chairmen and Chairman of the Committee of the Whole are elected by the Conference for a mandate of one year.
– The Executive Council: 41 members who serve for a term of two (02) years. It is responsible for ensuring the effective application and compliance with the Convention.
He supervises the activities of the Technical Secretariat and oversees the application of the decisions, recommendations and directives of the Conference. It holds three ordinary sessions a year and may meet as often as required for the exercise of its powers and functions.
The Council is headed by a Chairman and four (04) Vice-Chairmen who are elected from among its members, for a term of one year.
– The Technical Secretariat: Headed by a Director General, it carries out the technical missions of the Organization. It shall assist the Conference and the Executive Council in the performance of their functions, carry out the verification measures and other functions entrusted to it under the Convention as well as those functions delegated to it by the Conference and the Executive Council.
The Director General is appointed by the Conference of States Parties on the recommendation of the Executive Council for a term of four years. He is responsible for ensuring that the Technical Secretariat performs its duties. The current Director General, Ambassador Fernando Arias was appointed by the 26th Conference of the Parties, in December 2021, for a second term of four years from July 25, 2022.
Subsidiary and advisory bodies of the Organization:
- Advisory Body on Administrative and Financial Matters,
- Confidentiality Commission,
- Scientific Advisory Board,
- Advisory Board on Education and outreach.
The OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (Chem– Tech Centre) (https://www.opcw.org/media-centre/featured-topics/chemtech-centre)
The Organization aims, through the Chemistry and Technology Centre (Chem-Tech) which should be operational in 2023, to promote international cooperation, research, training and capacity building for the benefit of experts from States Parties particularly developing countries.
Algeria contributed in 2019, with 15,000 euros to the financing of this project.
II- Algeria and the OPCW
Algeria is one of the founding countries of the OPCW. It signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on January 13, 1993 and ratified it on August 14, 1995.
The Ambassador of Algeria to the Kingdom of the Netherlands is also Permanent Representative of Algeria to the OPCW. HE Mrs. Ambassador Salima Abdelhak presented to the Director General of the Organization, Mr. Fernando Arias, the letters of cabinet accrediting her in this capacity, on January 26, 2022. (https://www.opcw.org/about- us/member-states/algeria)
Algeria has always worked to advance the issues of disarmament, the non-proliferation of chemical weapons, the fight against the re- emergence of these weapons, chemical terrorism and abandoned chemical weapons.
Its action is based on the respect for the Convention and international law by promoting consensus in decision-making. It has consistently supported the strengthening of cooperation between the OPCW and the developing countries, particularly with Africa.
Algeria is present in the decision-making bodies of the OPCW, including in the General Committee of the Conference of States Parties and the Executive Council. It has been elected on March 2022, Vice-Chair of the Open-Ended Working Group in charge of the preparation of the 5th Review Conference which will take place in May 2023. Algeria has also assumed the following positions:
– The chairmanship of the 7th Conference of States Parties, in 2002 and Vice-chairmanship of the Conference in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and is assuming this position since 2017,
– The chairmanship of the Committee of the Whole of the 13th Conference of states parties and the 2nd Review Conference in 2008,
– The chairmanship of the 2nd Review Conference in 2003 and those of the Open-Ended Working Group responsible for preparing the 3rd Review Conference in 2012,
The current Director General of the OPCW, Ambassador Fernando Arias paid a visit to Algeria in 2018. His predecessor, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, visited Algeria in June 2015. Another visit was made to Algeria by the former Director General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, in June 2007.
At the level of subsidiary bodies, Algeria was elected Chair of the OPCW Confidentiality Commission at its 23rd session (13 -15 October 2021). Algeria is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the OPCW since 2017. It was a member of the Board between 2009 and 2015 and chaired the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Education and outreach between 2012 and 2014.
III- Work and training opportunities at the OPCW
The OPCW offers recruitment and training opportunities. As any other international organization, the OPCW offers recruitment opportunities for lawyers, interpreters and experts in the management of cooperation projects, human resources, communication, finance, etc.
The OPCW also recruits for positions that require technical knowledge. The verification regime of the Convention is based on a system of inspections carried out in the States Parties, including within industrial plants. The OPCW recruits inspectors with technical profiles in the fields of disarmament and also in the chemical industry.
Any citizen of a State Party may apply for job offers and vacancies advertised on the OPCW website. The level of experience required depends on each position. Fluency in English is essential. OPCW policy encourages the recruitment of women in order to enhance gender parity within the Organization. More details are available on the organization’s website; CURRENT EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES https://www.opcw.org/work-us/employment
The OPCW also offers training opportunities for researchers and university students in the areas of its action, in particular through its INTERNSHIP internship program https://www.opcw.org/work-us/internships