The French Government has revealed its decision to support the Future Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Centre for Chemistry and Technology (OPCW ChemTech Centre).

More than €1.2m has been contributed by France towards the OPCW Trust Fund.

Funding will support the upgrade of the existing OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store to ChemTech Centre.

OPCW director-general Fernando Arias and France’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW Ambassador Philippe Lalliot exchanged letters to show the French Government’s support.

Arias said: “I want to express my deep gratitude to the Government of France for its generous support. This contribution brings us one step closer to realising this important project.

“The new centre will strengthen the OPCW’s scientific and technological ability to comprehensively address the threat of chemical weapons and support capacity building in our member states.”

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“A comprehensive project plan for the construction of the centre is being developed by the OPCW Technical Secretariat.”

The upgrade project is currently in progress and aims to fortify OPCW’s abilities to tackle new and emerging chemical weapons threats. In addition, it supports capacity development in its member states.

OPCW’s Laboratory and Equipment Store is currently unable to meet demands due to ageing infrastructure, space limitations and additional workload.

The new ChemTech Centre will comply with the conditions set up by OPCW state parties for enhanced verification equipment, improved detection capabilities and response measures, and capacity development activities.

It will keep OPCW updated on developments in science, technology and chemical warfare threats.

A comprehensive project plan for the construction of the centre is being developed by the OPCW Technical Secretariat.

To date, 13 states parties have contributed or pledged financial aid and raised a considerable amount to fund the project.

Ambassador Philippe Lalliot said: “This new centre, including a very modern and secure laboratory, will enhance the system of prevention, identification and response of the OPCW and its member states.

“It will provide the member states with an instrument to enhance international cooperation, including with a training platform to strengthen capacity-building for the member states. It will contribute to strengthening our collective security.”