OPCW Scientific Advisory Board holds 20th session

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' Scientific Advisory Board held its 20th session on June 10 to 14 in The Hague, during which it expressed the importance of upholding its expertise in science and technology.


Stefan Mogl of Switzerland acted as chairman during the event and Professor Alejandra Graciela Suarez of Argentina served as vice-chair. Opening statements were made by OPCW Director-General Ambassador Ahmet uzumcu, who spoke of the importance of maintaining expertise in science and technology, especially for the Chemical Weapons Convention.


During his address, uzumcu asked the SAB to begin providing advice on riot-control agents and advice on medicine that can counter blister and nerve agents.


"This demonstrates a commitment from States Parties to ensure the OPCW remains diligent with regard to science and technology, and continues to develop its expertise and knowledge of relevant scientific and technological developments," uzumcu said.


During the session, the SAB endorsed reports from its three Temporary Working Groups, which will each provide scientific reports by the end of the mandates. The TWGs held meetings in November, March and April on the convergence of chemistry and biology, on which the reports will be based.


The SAB is composed of 25 independent scientists from a variety of regional groups and nations to provide expertise in the scientific realm to the director-general on CWC-related issues. Dr. Carlos David Gonzalez Berrutti of Uruguay, Dr. Nicia Maria Fusaro Mourao of Brazil, Dr. Christopher Timperley of the United Kingdom and Mr. Francois Mauritz van Straten of South Africa were appointed by the director-general to join the SAB and attended a session for the first time.


Mogl's term as a SAB member ends in October and vice-chair Suarez will take his place, effective June 15. Dr. Christopher Timperley from the United Kingdom will serve as vice-chair, also effective June 15.