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Pure and Applied Chemistry

The Scientific Journal of IUPAC

Ed. by Burrows, Hugh / Stohner, Jürgen

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 5.294

CiteScore 2017: 3.42

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 1.212
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 1.546

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Volume 90, Issue 10


Chemistry and diplomacy

Jonathan E. Forman
  • Corresponding author
  • Secretary to the Scientific Advisory Board and Science Policy Adviser, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), The Hague, The Netherlands
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Christopher M. Timperley
  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP4 0JQ, UK
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Siqing Sun / Darcy van Eerten
Published Online: 2018-09-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pac-2018-0902


The Chemical Weapons Convention is a science-based international treaty for the disarmament and non-proliferation of chemical weapons. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) serves as its implementing body. The treaty bans chemicals weapons, includes a verification mechanism to monitor compliance, and requires scientific and technical expertise for effective implementation. This necessitates a continuous engagement with scientific communities, whether informal or institutionalized (as demonstrated by the Designated Laboratories, Validation Group, and Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), of the OPCW), to ensure operation of the treaty keeps pace with scientific advances, and that enabling opportunities to meet challenges through scientific advances can be seized. The effective use of science for treaty implementation demands scientific literacy for decision making. Herein, the Convention, its scientific basis, need for scientific expertise, and mechanisms through which the OPCW engages scientists, are described. The function of the OPCW SAB, its review of science and technology to advise disarmament and non-proliferation policymakers, and its role in raising awareness of science within the world of international diplomacy, are reviewed.

Keywords: Chemical Weapons Convention 2017; chemical weapons; Director-General; disarmament; non-proliferation; Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW); science advice; science communication; science diplomacy; science policy; Scientific Advisory Board; scientific advisory mechanism; scientific literacy; States Parties


About the article

Published Online: 2018-09-24

Published in Print: 2018-10-25

Citation Information: Pure and Applied Chemistry, Volume 90, Issue 10, Pages 1507–1525, ISSN (Online) 1365-3075, ISSN (Print) 0033-4545, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pac-2018-0902.

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Christopher M. Timperley, Jonathan E. Forman, Pal Åas, Mohammad Abdollahi, Djafer Benachour, Abdullah Saeed Al-Amri, Augustin Baulig, Renate Becker-Arnold, Veronica Borrett, Flerida A. Cariño, Christophe Curty, David Gonzalez, Michael Geist, William Kane, Zrinka Kovarik, Roberto Martínez-Álvarez, Robert Mikulak, Nicia Maria Fusaro Mourão, Slawomir Neffe, Evandro De Souza Nogueira, Ponnadurai Ramasami, Syed K. Raza, Valentin Rubaylo, Ahmed E. M. Saeed, Koji Takeuchi, Cheng Tang, Ferruccio Trifirò, Francois Mauritz van Straten, Alejandra G. Suárez, Farhat Waqar, Paula S. Vanninen, Mohammad Zafar-Uz-Zaman, Slavica Vučinić, Volodymyr Zaitsev, Mongia Saïd Zina, Stian Holen, and Fauzia Nurul Izzati
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