Paul F. Walker, Ph.D.
Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Green Cross International
A Century of Chemical Warfare: Building a World Free of Chemical Weapons
The accession of Syria to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 2013 and the 2015 ratification by the parliament of Myanmar both mark the further universalization of the international ban on a whole class of weapons of mass destruction. The CWC, now with 191 States Parties, covers all but five countries today and has been successful in verifying the safe elimination of over 61,000 metric tons of deadly chemical agents in eight declared possessor states. But the use of sarin nerve agent to kill 1,400 innocent civilians in the suburbs of Damascus in August, 2013, has shown once again, a century after the first major use of chemicals in World War I, just how harmful chemical warfare still is today.
Dr. Paul Walker, an expert in international security, has worked for over two decades now to ban chemical weapons since he first visited a Russian chemical weapons stockpile in 1994. He will discuss the history of arms control efforts since WWI, the use of chemicals in warfare and terrorism, and the past 25 years of unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral efforts to safely destroy dangerous stockpiles in the US, Russia, Syria, Albania, India, South Korea, Libya, and Iraq. This historic abolition effort has been neither easy nor cheap, and has faced many political and technology challenges. Walker will discuss these challenges, as well as successes and current goals to reach a world truly free of chemical weapons, including lessons for nuclear, biological, and conventional disarmament.