Chemical Weapons Convention Bulletin
Department of Commerce
Bureau of Industry and Security

Introduction to Industry Implementation of the
Chemical Weapons Convention

Annex A: A Synopsis of the CWC Text

The Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force on April 29, 1997. Implementation activity in the United States began almost immediately thereafter. However, due to U.S. constitutional and regulatory requirements, implementation was limited to the chemical weapons (CW) provisions of the Convention and the Department of Defense facilities to which they apply. With the passage of the CWC Implementation Act of 1998 and the subsequent promulgation of BIS's CWCR, a timetable for industry implementation was set in motion. The first step in this implementation process is an awareness of the CWCR which are based on CWC provisions. As background a synopsis of the Convention is provided below.

The CWC is divided into four major components: the Preamble and 24 Articles; the Annex on Chemicals; the Annex on Implementation and Verification; and the Annex on the Protection of Confidential Information. The annexes are considered an integral part of the Convention. While the annexes provide the detailed "How" of the Convention, the Preamble and articles outline the general "What" of the document.


The Preamble briefly proclaims, in stylized treaty language, the moral, historical and legal antecedents of the Convention.

24 Articles

Article I — General Obligations — spells out to States Parties the activities the Convention prohibits, as well as the positive actions it requires of States Parties.

Article II — Definitions and Criteria — provides specific definitions for terminology used in the CWC.

Article III — Declarations — outlines the reporting requirements each State Party bears in relation to CW and CW activities

Article IV — Chemical Weapons — provides the basis for implementation procedures for the destruction of CW and its verification.

Article V — Chemical Weapons Production Facilities — provides the basis for implementation procedures for the destruction and/or conversion of production facilities and their verification.

Article VI — Activities Not Prohibited Under This Convention — outlines the declaration and on-site verification measures pertaining to scheduled chemicals. This article forms the basis for industry verification measures.

Article VII — National Implementation Measures — specifies the legal and organizational undertakings required of States Parties in order to implement the Convention.

Article VIII — The Organization — describes the functions of the structural components of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The Conference of the States Parties, or simply the Conference, is the principle organ of the OPCW. The Conference meets at least annually and consists of representatives of each of the States Parties.

The Executive Council, the executive organ of the Organization, is responsible to the Conference, and is charged with promoting the effective implementation of, and compliance with, the Convention. It consists of representatives of 41 rotating States Parties chosen for 2-year terms and with due regard for geographic distribution and the importance of chemical industry.

The Technical Secretariat assists the Conference and the Executive Council and carries out all the verification measures in the Convention. The Director-General is the head of the Technical Secretariat and is appointed by the Conference.

Article IX — Consultations, Cooperation and Fact-finding — contains the procedures for clarifying and resolving compliance concerns, including the procedures for challenge inspections.

Article X — Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons — provides for assistance and cooperation among States Parties in CW protection and for the reporting of chemical defense programs.

Article XI — Economic and Technological Development — promotes economic and technological development and prohibits impediments to trade and development in the field of chemistry for peaceful purposes.

Article XII — Measures to Redress a Situation and to Ensure Compliance, Including Sanctions — provides for the application of collective measures in response to threats to the object and purpose of the Convention, including referral to the United Nations.

(The remaining 12 articles are self-explanatory and are mainly administrative in nature.)

Article XIII — Relation to Other International Agreements

Article XIV — Settlement of Disputes

Article XV — Amendments

Article XVI — Duration and Withdrawal

Article XVII — Status of the Annexes

Article XVIII — Signature

Article XIX — Ratification

Article XX — Accession

Article XXI — Entry into Force

Articles XXII — Reservations

Article XXIII — Depositary

Article XXIV — Authentic Texts

Annex on Chemicals

The Annex on Chemicals consists of two parts: Guidelines for Schedules of Chemicals and the actual Schedules of Chemicals.

Verification Annex

The Annex on Implementation and Verification, known as the Verification Annex, contains the detailed instructions for implementing and complying with the CWC. As such, it is the heart of the Convention and is where most answers to operational questions can be found. The organization of the Verification Annex follows the same order as the articles of the Convention. The logic of the document is to move from the general to the more specific so that the later treatment of a given topic is the one that has precedence in specific application. For example, the general inspection rules are superseded by subsequent treatments of inspection procedures for specific types of inspections and facilities. The following is a synopsis of the contents of the Verification Annex.

Part I — Definitions

Part II — General Rules of Verification — provides for the designation of inspectors and their status, arrangements for inspection notifications and arrival at the point of entry (POE), inspection equipment, transfer to the inspection site and pre-inspection briefings. Most important, it establishes the general rules for the conduct of inspections and delineates the rights of the inspection team and the inspected State Party, as well as required procedures. The inspection team is granted unimpeded access to the inspection site, while at the same time it is enjoined to strictly observe and not exceed its inspection mandate. In addition, it is required to carry out its activities in a timely manner and to ensure the least possible inconvenience to the inspected State Party and disturbance to the inspected facility. Part II establishes the inspectors' right to conduct a number of inspection activities, including:#

Part III — General Provisions for Verification Measures Pursuant to Articles IV, V, and VI, Paragraph 3 — provides the framework for verification of declarations pertaining to chemical weapons storage, destruction and production facilities, as well as Schedule 1 chemical facilities. Included in this framework are requirements for facility agreements and measures for continuous monitoring instrumentation.

Part IV (A) — Destruction of Chemical Weapons and its Verification Pursuant to Article IV — details the declaration and verification process pertaining to chemical weapons. In addition to technical and historical declaration data, States Parties who possess chemical weapons are required to submit a general plan plus detailed annual plans for destruction of chemical weapons. These plans must conform to a CWC-prescribed order of destruction, meet phase targets, and meet the overall target — total destruction of CW not later than 10 years after entry into force.

Part IV (B) — Old Chemical Weapons and Abandoned Chemical Weapons — contains the obligations and procedures by which States Parties are to report Old and Abandoned CW and the CWC verification regime for them

Part V — Destruction of Chemical Weapons Production Facilities and its Verification Pursuant to Article V — provides the declaration, verification and destruction procedures for CW production facilities.

Part VI — Activities Not Prohibited Under This Convention in Accordance with Article VI (Regime for Schedule 1 Chemicals and Facilities Related to Such Chemicals) — specifies the limited uses and quantities of Schedule 1 chemicals permissible under the Convention, as well as the declaration and inspection provisions.

Part VII — Activities Not Prohibited Under This Convention in Accordance with Article VI (Regime for Schedule 2 Chemicals and Facilities Related to Such Chemicals) — specifies procedures for declarations and inspection activities.

Part VIII — Activities Not Prohibited Under This Convention in Accordance with Article VI (Regime for Schedule 3 Chemicals and Facilities Related to Such Chemicals) — specifies procedures for declarations and inspection activities.

Part IX — Activities Not Prohibited Under This Convention in Accordance with Article VI (Regime for Other Chemical Production Facilities) — contains the procedures for declarations and inspection activities involving unscheduled discrete organic chemicals, including those containing the elements phosphorus, sulfur or fluorine (designated "PSF chemicals" in the CWC).

Part X — Challenge Inspections Pursuant to Article IX — provides detailed information pertaining to the conduct of challenge inspections. The determination, negotiation, designation and role of the inspection site perimeter are covered, as well as the concept and practice of managed access procedures.

Part XI — Investigation in Cases of Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons — provides procedures for requests for an investigation and for the conduct of inspections.

Confidentiality Annex

The Annex on the Protection of Confidential Information, or simply the Confidentiality Annex, is divided into four sections that outline the general principles for handling confidential information, impose ethical standards for employment in the Technical Secretariat, describe the measures to protect confidential information as a result of on-site verification activity, and provide for procedures in cases of breaches of confidentiality. Of particular importance is the right of States Parties to protect sensitive information not related to chemical weapons. This right is reinforced by the obligation of the inspection teams to employ the least intrusive measures possible. These provisions are elaborated through facility agreements. Thus, the Convention provision affording the inspection team the right to unimpeded access to the site is conditioned by countervailing obligations and inspected State Party rights. In cases where information a State Party considers confidential is disclosed, the State Party may designate it as such and thereby impose an obligation on the Technical Secretariat in terms of special handling procedures. These procedures are reinforced through employee secrecy agreements that extend 5 years after the term of employment and provision for punitive disciplinary measures.

Education, Assistance & Support
Publication CWC-004
[ PART 9 OF 13 ]