by Edwin D. Becker
Bergen, Norway, was the site of an IUPAC Workshop on "Impact
of Scientific Developments on the Chemical Weapons Convention."
The workshop, held 30 June to 3 July 2002, brought together 80 participants
from 33 countriesscientific leaders in chemical synthesis,
analysis, and industrial processing, along with experts in chemical
The Chemical Weapons Convention, which has been ratified by 145
countries ("States Parties"), went into effect in 1997.
It prohibits the use of chemical weapons, provides a schedule for
the destruction of existing stockpiles of chemical weapons, and
mandates international inspections to verify weapons destruction
and to preclude the production of new chemical weapons. The operation
of the treaty during its first six years will be examined at a Review
Conference to be held by the States Parties beginning 28 April 2003.
The IUPAC Workshop was designed to highlight advances in synthetic
methods and in chemical processing technology that could pose additional
challenges to inspectors in verifying compliance with the treaty
and to identify new analytical methods that might facilitate inspections.
A report from IUPAC to the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons (OPCW) is being prepared. This report will provide scientific
input into the political decisions to be made at the Review Conference.
As part of the dissemination effort, the report will be sent to
IUPACs National Adhering Organizations, Associate NAOs, national
chemical societies, and the National Authorities of the 145 States
Parties. It also will be posted on the IUPAC Web site.
committee (from left): Alan
Hayes, UK; Pieter Steyn, RSA; George Parshall, USA; Douglas
J. Raber, USA; Leiv K. Sydnes, Norway; Ted Becker, USA;
Detlef Männig, Germany; and Chris Murphy, USA.
credit: L.O. Orjaseter, Norwegian Chemical Journal
The workshop was held in very pleasant and extremely well-appointed
facilities at the University of Bergen. All local arrangements were
handled superbly by Dr. Leiv K. Sydnes, professor of chemistry at
the University, and current IUPAC vice president. IUPAC President
Pieter S. Steyn and Dr. John Gee, acting Director of OPCW, addressed
the opening session. Background on OPCW and reviews of scientific
advances were presented in 21 lectures. Three working sessions permitted
the participants to examine major issues in small groups, and a
concluding session, chaired by IUPAC Past President Alan Hayes,
summarized the findings and provided substantive material for the
IUPAC report. Articles based on the lectures will be published in
Pure and Applied Chemistry early in 2003.
The workshop was conducted as part of IUPAC Project
No. 2001-057-1-020, with financial support from the MacArthur
Foundation, Ploughshares Fund, U.S. National Academies, NATO, Ministry
of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Amersham Health AS, University of
Bergen, Royal Society (London), and the International Council of
D. Becker is secretary general of IUPAC. He has been instrumental
in organizing the Chemical Weapons Workshop.