Marking the annual Remembrance Day for All Victims of Chemical Warfare, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the world to build on progress so far made towards the complete elimination of chemical weapons and to promote the international convention banning their use and stockpiling.
This annual remembrance day, marking the anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, is an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare and to reaffirm the international community`s condemnation of an inhumane weapon of mass destruction, " said Mr. Ban in a message to mark the Day.
He said the Convention embodied the collective determination of States and people to completely and permanently eliminate the threat, and to promote a world where chemistry is exclusively used for the benefit of humanity.
In that spirit, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 the International Year of Chemistry in order to celebrate chemistry as a science of peace and progress, " said the Secretary-General.
Important progress has been made in implementing the convention`s provisions and fulfilling the mandate entrusted to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Mr. Ban said. The convention now has 188 States Parties.
More than 65 per cent of declared chemical warfare agents have been verifiably destroyed, Mr. Ban pointed out, noting that three States have destroyed their stockpiles, while the remaining countries which posses the weapons are working intently toward that goal.
An impressive 90 per cent of chemical weapons production capability has been inactivated or permanently converted for peaceful purposes, " Mr. Ban said.
The non-proliferation regime provided for under the convention is also working effectively, he said, with more than 2,000 inspections conducted at industrial facilities, and a monitoring mechanism in place to track global exports and imports of toxic chemicals.
Almost all States Parties have also established a national authority to ensure full and effective domestic implementation of the convention, the Secretary-General added.