OPCW Deputy Director-General Asirwatham inaugurates National Authorities in Asia meeting

Grace Asirwatham, the deputy director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, recently inaugurated the 12th Regional Meeting of National Authorities in Asia in New Delhi, India.

Asirwatham and Prajapati Trivedi, the chairman of the Indian National Authority, inaugurated the meeting on July 16. The meeting took place on July 16-18 and was attended by 45 participants from 30 states parties in the region, according to an OPCW press release.

The OPCW said the annual meeting was an important opportunity to share experiences and best practices related to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

In her opening statement, Asirwatham pointed out the need for full and effective implementation of the CWC and the role national authorities play in that process.

"The convention is only effective when its prohibitions and prescriptions are embodied in the national legislative mechanisms of member states," Asirwatham said. "Without proper national implementation, we run the risk of undermining the integrity of this important treaty. It is with this in mind that we must spare no effort in accelerating national implementation of the convention and ensuring we have all possible legislative and enforcement tools in place to this end. I strongly encourage all national authorities to keep the (OPCW) Technical Secretariat informed of their national implementation efforts."

Asirwatham also conducted multiple bilateral meetings during her visit and addressed the National Authority Advisory Board of India. The discussions focused on the current challenges and future direction of the OPCW, progress in the discussion of Syrian chemical weapons and universality.