As a way of promoting a culture of responsible conduct in the chemical sciences and to guard against the misuse of chemistry, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPWC) facilitated a project, begun in November 2014, to develop ethical guidelines for chemistry practitioners related to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Two workshops involving a group of more than 30 scientists and chemistry professionals from over 20 countries were organized to discuss and draft possible ethical guidelines for the practice of chemistry under the norms of the Convention. The workshops were held on 10-11 March and 17-18 September 2015 at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague and were chaired by Professor Alejandra Suárez of Argentina.
As an outcome of the workshops, The Hague Ethical Guidelines were drafted, intended to serve as elements for ethical codes and discussion points for ethical issues related to the practice of chemistry under the Convention. The core of the guidelines, which draw on many existing elements, is based on the premise that “achievements in the field of chemistry should be used to benefit humankind and the environment”. The guidelines provide a useful framework for debating the vital dimension of ethics in relation to chemical disarmament and non-proliferation.
Several IUPAC members have been involved in the preparation and review of the guidelines. At the workshops, information was shared about the earlier IUPAC project 2007-022-2-020 (see www.iupac.org/project/2007-022-2-020 or feature published in Chem. Int. Nov-Dec 2011, pp. 7-11) and which outcome released in 2011, provides draft elements for a code of conduct.
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