Title: A joint OPCW - IUPAC project on education and outreach
regarding chemical weapons
Chairman: Peter W. Atkins
Members: Edwin D.
Becker, Leiv K. Sydnes,
and Natalia P. Tarasova
Completion Date: 2006 - project completed
Remark: An earlier project on the impact of scientific developments
on the Chemical Weapons Convention was completed in 2003 > see
To increase awareness of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and its
requirements in the scientific community (chemists and chemical engineers),
to enhance the knowledge about its key provisions and requirements,
to integrate issues related to the Convention and its implementation
into chemistry teaching, and to promote professional conduct of chemists
and chemical engineers that is fully in line with the Convention.
There are essentially two groups of issues that the study could address:
Firstly, the question of professional ethics; secondly, the question
of how to incorporate issues to do with the CWC into chemistry education.
In respect to the first question, the study could address whether it
is desirable that professional associations (e.g., chemical societies),
teaching institutions such as universities, scientific academies and
similar institutions adopt codes of conduct specifically reflecting
the prohibitions of the CWC, or include such issues into existing codes.
Such codes do, of course, already exist in a number of countries and
institutions, professional associations, as well as in the chemical
industry. Issues that could be studied may include how the adoption
of such codes on a global basis could be promoted, how awareness about
such codes could be increased, what the essential elements of such codes
should be in respect to the chemical weapons ban, and how they relate
to other codes of scientific work ethics.
In respect to the second question, the study could identify aspects
of the CWC that each chemistry student should be taught, and discuss
how these issues relate to the rest of the curriculum/curricula. The
study could also look at alternative means of education (for example,
self-study material, internet and "traditional" publications,
activities of chemical societies). Essentially, the objective is to
identify ways and means to ensure that future generations of chemists
and chemical engineers will receive in their professional training a
certain amount of knowledge about the CWC and its requirements. In addition,
there could be merit in discussing issues of a more specialised nature
that could be taken up in chemistry education and training, such as
technical aspects of verification of the CWC, CW destruction technologies,
responses to uses of chemical weapons, protection against the effects
of CW - to mention just a few examples.
A first task group meeting was held in the Hague on 17 January 2005.
Interaction with an International Advisory Board (about 15-20 members
appointed jointly by IUPAC and OPCW), detailed plan and time frame have
A joint meeting of IUPAC and the Organisation for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons, on the CWC and the role of chemists, was held in Oxford
(UK) from 9-12 July 2005. Two recommendations of the meeting were (i)
the need for chemists to develop their own codes-of-conduct, and (ii)
for the development of educational material which describes the CWC
and the obligations it places on the 160 member states who are signatories.
It was felt important to place the CWC in the context of the beneficial
uses and misuses of chemicals, and raise awareness of multiple uses
of the same substances.
A technical report entitled 'Education, outreach, and codes of conduct
to further the norms and obligations of the Chemical Weapons Convention'
has been published as Pure
78(11), 2169-2192, 2006.
Two other projects have been initiated to address each of the recommendations,
(i) the need for chemists to develop
their own codes-of-conduct, and (ii) the
development of educational material
Last update: 25 October 2006
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