By Alicia Sanders-Zakre
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council plans by October to pick from among seven candidates to succeed Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü, who steps down in July.
At the OPCW Executive Council meeting in July, each nominee gave a 10-minute presentation on priorities, challenges, and the management of the secretariat, followed by questions from the five regional groups.
During Üzümcü’s two terms as director-general, he implemented institutional reforms and guided the organization through unprecedented challenges.
The next director-general will also have a challenging portfolio, which includes addressing current chemical weapons use in Syria and shifting future institutional priorities as the organization nears completion of most states’ chemical weapons stockpiles destruction.
“[T]he next director-general would need to make the OPCW, with the support of the states-parties, a vanguard against the threat of the re-emergence of chemical weapons and the use of chemical weapons by ‘rouge’ states and non-state actors,” Belal said in an Aug. 17 email to Arms Control Today.