12 September 2011
OPCW Conference on International Cooperation and
Chemical Safety and Security
Statement by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
Conference on International Cooperation and
Chemical Safety and Security by the
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Peace Palace, The Hague
Monday, 12 September 2011 at 11:00
It is a privilege for me to be with you for this unique conference on chemical safety and security. I thank the Government of the Netherlands for their support and commend the leadership of Director-General Üzümcü in promoting cooperation on chemical safety and security.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, attaches particular importance to the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Therefore, it is my privilege to deliver his message to you on this occasion.
The message goes as follows:
“I am pleased to send my greetings to this Conference on International Cooperation and Chemical Safety and Security. I thank the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for organizing this important event.
Whether you are participating in person or online, you can use this gathering to give concrete meaning to the International Year of Chemistry by exploring how the Chemical Weapons Convention can promote the peaceful, safe and secure applications of chemistry worldwide.
The Convention, adopted in response to humankind’s tragic history of chemical warfare, comprehensively bans chemical weapons, prevents the misuse of chemistry and promotes its benefits for peaceful purposes.
With 188 parties, the Convention is the cornerstone of international efforts to eliminate the dangers posed by one of the deadliest weapons of mass destruction. It serves the goals of complete disarmament and non-proliferation while fostering a broad range of activities that facilitate chemistry’s manifold peaceful applications.
This International Year marks the centenary of the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Marie Curie. Her immense legacy includes an abiding faith in science to serve the greater public good. As she said, “To foster and safeguard the scientific vocation is a sacred duty for each society which has the interests of its future at heart.”
All of you are carrying out this sacred duty for the sake of our common future.
I wish you great success in this important endeavour.”
That was the end of the Secretary-General’s message.
The OPCW forms an important part of the international community’s disarmament and non-proliferation efforts for safer and more secure world. As Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and the Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Conference, it gives me particular pleasure to deliver this message to an organization which deals with a convention negotiated by the Conference on Disarmament.
The example of the Chemical Weapons Convention shows the true potential of the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiating body. Indeed, it gives cause for optimism about the future of the Conference.
I am deeply concerned about the continuing stalemate but at the same time urge the Member countries not to let frustration dominate expectations and commitments. I hope that the same spirit of compromise and collaboration that led to agreement on the Chemical Weapons Convention may again prevail.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The International Year of Chemistry is a reminder of the need to integrate scientific perspectives and the views of scientists in policy debates. Many of today’s challenges today – from terrorism and cyber-security, to sustainable development and climate change – require a scientific basis.
I hope that this conference will also serve to bring the scientific and policy communities closer together in pursuit of our common objectives.
I join the Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in extending my best wishes for a successful meeting.
Thank you very much.