OPCW logoThe Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is currently overseeing the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, has been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for extensive efforts since 1997 to rid the world of this horrific weapon of mass destruction.

The Organization (OPCW), based in The Hague in the Netherlands, is the independent implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international arms control treaty first implemented in 1997. Since then the OPCW has, through inspections, destruction and by other means, sought to destroy all stored weapons and means of their production. 189 states have complied with the convention to date.

Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the OPCW’s efforts to urge every nation to enforce the deadline, which was April 2012, for destroying their chemical weapons.

Working in an active war zone, the team in Syria, currently made up of 35 members tasked with eliminating all chemical weapons in the country by mid-2014, risks their lives every day. To ease their burden, the Nobel committee and the money that accompanies the award — $1.25 million dollars — helps them to add a second team and spur their resolve.

But CNN reports, “The OPCW did not receive the prize primarily because of its work in Syria, committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said. “It is because of its long-standing efforts to eliminate chemical weapons and that we are now about to reach the goal and do away with a whole category of weapons of mass destruction. That would be a great event in history, if we can achieve that.””

(READ more from Reuters)

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