Chemical Weapons Convention Embodies Universal Values, Asserts OPCW Director-General During Visit to Italy

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 29 May 2018 – The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, delivered a keynote speech at the University of Rome Tor Vergata on 28 May .

Speaking at the Open Day for Master of Science in European Economy and Business Law, the Director-General contended that to be effective, legal instruments – such as the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) – must be underpinned by universal values.

Ambassador Üzümcü stated that it is “the unwavering commitment of States Parties to the letter and the spirit of the Convention” that has enabled the success of global chemical disarmament.

However, the CWC’s significance “reaches beyond the field of disarmament” as the treaty “embodies the moral dominion of respect for agreed norms over arbitrary and irresponsible behaviour.  It reinforces the sanctity of humanitarian ideals over warfare and the importance of collaborative approaches to achieving peace.”

Tor Vergata’s International Master Courses in Protection against Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive Events won the 2017 The OPCW-The Hague Award.

The courses educate the next generations of first responders and advisors to policymakers, and since 2009 have produced over 170 international experts.


The annual OPCW-The Hague award was established in 2014 by the OPCW to recognise and honour individuals and institutions that have made an outstanding contribution towards the goal of a world permanently free of chemical weapons; such contributions include promoting the peaceful uses of chemistry and preventing its misuse.

The Award is a tribute reflecting the honour bestowed upon the OPCW for winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 and is supported by a generous financial contribution from the City of The Hague.

As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

Over 96% of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.