On 1 December 2014, the opening day of the Nineteenth Session of the Conference of the States Parties of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at the headquaters of the OPCW in The Hague, Dr. Robert Mathews (Australia) and the Finnish Institute for the Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (VERIFIN) were jointly presented with the inaugural OPCW-The Hague Award.
The Award was created by the OPCW as an outcome of its winning the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. The Award is supported by a financial contribution from the City of The Hague. It is intended “to honour and recognise individuals and organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to achieving a world free of chemical weapons.”
Dr. Mathews and VERIFIN have made valuable contributions toward the goal of reducing and eliminating chemical weapons. In keeping with the purpose of the Award, they have been credited with providing “sustained leadership and support to the development of key concepts of the Convention, as well as to initiatives to promote chemical disarmament and non-proliferation around the world.”
Dr. Mathews is Head of the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms Control Unit in the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organization. He has dedicated his career to the disarmament and non-proliferation of chemical weapons. He made significant contributions to the final drafting of the Chemical Weapons Convention, as well as to its establishment, implementation and promotion as a unique instrument eliminating an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. He has been involved in several IUPAC projects and is currently part of the task group “Updating, Piloting, and Disseminating Educational Material for Raising Awareness of the Multiple Uses of Chemicals and the Chemical Weapons Convention” (www.iupac.org/project/2013-020-1-050)
The Finnish Institute for the Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (VERIFIN) has been in existence for 40 years. During that time VERIFIN has made a sustained contribution to chemical disarmament by focusing on the development and dissemination of analytical chemistry techniques and tools for the verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. VERIFIN has been instrumental in efforts to build the capacity of laboratories around the world to provide effective and accurate analysis of CWC-related chemicals.
IUPAC has been privileged to work with the OPCW, both in contributing technical expertise to the Review Conferences of the CWC and in developing educational resources on the multiple uses of chemicals.
©2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston