- Armament and disarmament
- Conflict, peace and security
- Peace and development
JEAN PASCAL ZANDERS, SUSANNA ECKSTEIN AND JOHN HART
With the 65th ratification deposited, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) entered into force on 29 April 1997. While the creation of the first global, verifiable disarmament regime is firmly on course, important issues need to be resolved. The domestic political, economic and other factors influencing a decision by the Russian Federation and the USA to ratify the CWC are complex. However, restrictions on chemical trade and effective implementation of the CWC may play the key role in convincing both states to ratify it. Verified destruction of chemical stockpiles, production facilities and old and abandoned chemical weapons will become a major political and technological challenge in the next few years. Chemical-weapon proliferation and the threat of CW use by terrorist or criminal organizations may be expected to remain a top security issue for many governments.
The Fourth Review Conference of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) endorsed the efforts to establish a Verification Protocol. Although the problems remain formidable, some encouraging signs emerged in 1996 that the BTWC might become a verifiable disarmament treaty early in the next century.