The Chemical Weapons Convention, or CWC, is a multilateral arms control treaty which prohibits the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons.
States Parties to the convention must destroy all the chemical weapons they own or possess; destroy all chemical weapons they may have abandoned in another country; and destroy facilities they own or possess which were involved in the production of chemical weapons. The treaty, signed by 193 nations as of June 2018, is enforced by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, in The Hague, Netherlands.
Under the CWC, States Parties have agreed to create a verification regime for certain toxic chemicals and their precursors in order to ensure that such chemicals are only used for purposes not prohibited.
The CWC entered into force on April 29, 1997. At that time, the U.S. and 86 other nations became the first countries to sign and ratify the CWC. Since entry into force of the CWC, the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (now Activity), or CMA, was responsible for the destruction of approximately 90 percent of the original U.S. chemical weapons stockpile, and completed that mission in January 2012. Other major CWC milestone accomplishments conducted by CMA include the total destruction of U.S. unfilled munitions and binary projectile inventory, the complete destruction of the nation’s former chemical weapons production facilities and the elimination of all binary chemical weapon materiel.
The Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, or PEO ACWA, was responsible for destruction of the remaining approximately 10 percent, stored at U.S. Army installations near Pueblo, Colorado and Richmond, Kentucky.
In April 2006, the CWC deadline was extended to April 29, 2012. In 2012, the U.S committed to a completion date of Sept. 30, 2023, by agreement with all States Parties to the Convention, with additional required accountability measures to the OPCW. The U.S. completed destruction of its declared chemical weapons stockpile July 7, 2023, also marking the completion of destruction of all declared stockpiles in the world.
For more information on the CWC, visit www.opcw.org.