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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Annual Report 2000-2001

Output D CWC Implementation

Operation of the national authority for implementation of the CWC, including contribution to effective international implementation of the CWC, particularly in Australias immediate region.

Figure 6 CWC Regional Workshop in MelbournePhotograph courtesy of DSTO

Milestone D1

Effective performance as the national focal point for liaison with the OPCWand other States Parties in relation to the fulfilment of Australias obligations under the CWC.

Activities

Dealings with the OPCW

In accordance with Australias obligations under the CWC, ASNO prepared and submitted routine declarations and notifications to the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW during the year. There were no routine OPCW inspections in Australia during the reporting period.

In September and October 2000, ASNO submitted routine CWC Article VI declarations on activities anticipated for 2001 for a total of 12 facilities working with Scheduled chemicals. In March 2001, declarations were submitted for 2000 on international transfers of Scheduled chemicals and for work in 38 facilities with CWC-relevant activities (a decrease in the number of facilities when compared with previous declarations as a result of ASNOs decision to exclude certain less-relevant facility types). These declarations were compiled using information gathered through the operation of the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1994, and information on imports and exports of Scheduled chemicals obtained from Customs data, import and export-licensing records and also through extensive industry surveys.

Figure 7 Geoffrey Shaw presenting at the CWC Regional Workshop
Photograph courtesy of DSTO

Other Article VI declarations and notifications to the OPCW during 2000-01 included: one advance notification of a proposed import of a Schedule 1 chemical; notifications in relation to approval of inspectors designated to Australia; and completion of two questionnaires circulated by the OPCW, namely Boundaries of Production and legislation relating to national measures regulating Scheduled chemicals.

In accordance with obligations under Article X, and for the purposes of promoting transparency between States Parties, ASNO submitted to the OPCW an annual declaration of Australias national chemical defence program. ASNO worked closely with the Department of Defence in compiling this declaration.

Dr Geoffrey Shaw, Head CWC Implementation, actively participated in two industry cluster meetings convened by the OPCW and held in The Hague during November 2000 and January 2001, to resolve outstanding technical issues faced by States Parties in implementing the CWC. Inter alia issues included: frequency of routine Schedule 2 inspections; definitions on the boundaries of production; international transfer of Schedule 3 chemicals; captive use; and rounding rules for Schedule 1 transfers. Methodology for inspections of Discrete Organic Chemical Production Facilities was also addressed, with ASNOin partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)preparing and circulating a non-paper for discussion on this issue.

In collaboration with the OPCW, DSTO, DFAT and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, and supported by AusAID, ASNO co-hosted a CWC Regional Workshop in Melbourne from 30 April to 3 May 2001 (see page 59 for feature article). The Workshop was attended by participants from a number of South East Asian and South Pacific countries, and focused on promoting international cooperation under the CWC in the region. A one-day national symposium immediately followed, which focused on building upon the ideas and concepts developed during the Workshop.

Dr Josy Meyer attended the third Annual Meeting of National Authorities, held in The Hague in May 2000 and attended by 139 delegates from over 83 States Parties. The aim of such international meetings is to promote transparency and cooperation between national authorities, including regional cooperation, as a means of improving the effectiveness of national implementation of the Convention. Following on from this meeting, Dr Meyer participated in the OPCW Sixth Conference of the States Parties.

Dealings with other States Parties

During November 2000, Dr Shaw called upon counterparts in Canada and the US for bilateral consultations on a raft of industry verification issues of direct relevance to Australia, including managing routine compliance inspections, identifying declarable facilities and reconciling trade data in scheduled chemicals.

In December 2000, New Zealand Government officials attended bilateral meetings at ASNO to share experiences in implementation of the CWC. ASNO maintained close liaison with counterparts in New Zealand, including providing information on potential trade in CWC scheduled chemicals.

Following an invitation from the Government of Vietnam, Dr Shaw organised and was the key note speaker at a CWC Workshop in Hanoi during January 2001. The aim of the Workshop was to provide practical assistance to Vietnamese officials to help clarify and implement State Party obligations under the CWC. Around 50 participants attended the Workshop from a range of Government agencies, universities and industry.

Following an invitation, Dr Shaw participated in a multinational inspection team, headed by an OPCW inspector, in a Challenge Inspection (CI) exercise at Stafford Airforce Base in the United Kingdom during June 2001. Observers from a number of CWC States Parties were present throughout the exercise. The goal of the exercise was to familiarise participants with CI procedures including perimeter negotiations and practical operation of the managed access provisions of the CWC. Following this exercise Dr Shaw had the opportunity to visit the UK chemical and biological defence establishment at Porton Down for bilateral consultations.

Performance Assessment

By providing accurate and timely declarations and notifications to the OPCW, ASNO has ensured that Australia has maintained a strong record of performance in meeting its CWC commitments. Recognition of excellence is reflected in invitations from the OPCW and other States Parties to participate in international meetings and to present on Australias experiences in implementing the Convention.

Recommendations resulting from the series of industry cluster meetings, for example, low concentration thresholds for transfers of Schedule 3 chemicals, were adopted by the 6th Conference of the States Parties in May 2001.

The CWC Regional Workshop was highly rated by participants, with requests for similar workshops to be held in the region in the future.

Following bilateral consultations with the US, ASNO was able to identify additional Schedule 2 chemicals being imported into Australia. This in turn lead to the identification of a number of Schedule 2 processing facilities, including one processing quantities above the Schedule 2 permit threshold.

Formal expressions of gratitude for assistance provided at the CWC Workshop in Hanoi have been received from Vietnams Vice Ministry for Industry, together with requests for ongoing assistance and collaboration.

During bilateral discussions in Canberra, New Zealand Government officials expressed appreciation for assistance previously provided by ASNO during preparations for their first inspection at a Discrete Organic Production Facility.

Participation in the CI exercise has provided invaluable insight into managing a CWC challenge inspection at an Australia defence site. To this end, ASNO continues to work with the Department of Defence in developing appropriate operating procedures.

Milestone D2

Activities and facilities in Australia relevant to CWC declarations are identified and the systems of permitsand notifications established by the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1994, and Regulation 5J of the Customs(Prohibited Imports) Regulations are operated effectively and/or amended as necessary.

Activities

Permits and Notifications

During the year ASNO identified two additional facilities which required a permitunder the Act to process Schedule 2 chemicals, while two facilities notified ASNO that work with Schedule 2 chemicals had ceased, and that their permits were no longer required.

Forty four companies submitted valid notifications under subsection 29(1) of the Act in relation to production of discrete organic chemicals during 2000.

ASNO provided reminders to each company or organisation of their obligations to ensure legislative requirements were met.

Industry Consultations

Throughout the year ASNO continued to operate an extensive on-site industry consultation and outreach program focussed primarily on facilities producing discrete organic chemicals, new Schedule 2 processors and traders in CWC scheduled chemicals. The aim of such visits included: providing facilities with updated CWC and associated legislative information; collecting information necessary for declarations; and preparing sites for possible routine compliance inspections by the OPCW. In addition, ASNO published an updated guide for importers in April 2001.

Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1994

ASNO facilitated the process which enabled the final parts of the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1994, dealing with routine international compliance inspections of Other Chemical Production Facilities, to come into effect on 17 August 2000. This reflects the CWC provision that such inspections commence five years after entry-into-force of the Convention.

Table 5 Permits for CWC Scheduled Chemical Facilities held at 30 June 2001

Subsection

19(4)

19(5)

19(6)

18(1)

18(1)

Facility

Schedule 1

Schedule 1

Schedule 1

Schedule 2

Schedule 3

Type

Protective facility

Research facility

Consumption facility

Processing facility

Production facility

Number

1

6

2

12

4

Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations

During the year, ASNO issued 34 import permitscovering Schedule 2 and 3 chemicals. One permit was issued covering Schedule 1 chemicals.

Import Survey

While permits to import Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 chemicals have been required since January 2000, ASNO conducted an extensive survey of chemical importers (excluding those with relevant import permits) to ensure all companies importing chemicals were aware of these import obligations. Over 250 known chemical importers were surveyed, with a small number of traders identified as requiring an import permit.

Performance Assessment

The system of permits and notifications operated satisfactorily during 200001. ASNO was very pro-active in assisting Australian industry to make its various declarations, and to notify changes affecting industry such as preparing sites for receiving routine OPCW inspections. Australian industry has expressed strong appreciation for ASNOs efforts in this regard.

The final parts of the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1994 proceeded through Executive Council and received Royal Assent in August 2000.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade