Nonproliferation
Policy Paper

Administering the Chemical Weapons Convention: Lessons from the IAEA

in Program

Comparisons between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are probably unavoid­ able. In fact, many observers have taken the IAEA, which was established in 1957 to promote peaceful uses of the atom, as the model for the OPCW, which will administer the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) upon its entry into force. After all, the OPCW, like the IAEA, would be an agency of the United Nations (UN), with an international inspector corps that conducts inspections around the world. Thus, the temptation to fashion the OPCW in the IAEA’s image is strong, despite the disparity in the size and nature of the IAEA and OPCW missions.

The IAEA became the hub of the nuclear nonproliferation regime when Article III of the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty required signatories to submit all of their peaceful activities to IAEA safeguards inspections. The IAEA monitors activities in nuclear power plants and research laboratories in over 140 countries where nuclear materials are used, processed, stored, or contained. Whereas the IAEA conducts safe­ guards inspections at hundreds of facilities, tens of thousands of governmental and industrial chemical facilities will be subject to inspections by the OPCW ‘s Technical Secretariat. By 1995, when the Convention is expected to enter into force, the OPCW must be prepared to begin routine data monitoring and inspection operations worldwide.

The Henry L. Stimson Center decided to convene a group of IAEA experts with the intent of distilling lessons from the IAEA’s administrative experience that could be helpful in establishing the OPCW. Under the aegis of the Stimson Center’s CWC implementation project, which is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, eight experts met for aroundtable discussion. These expe1tshad well over 150 year of combined experience in the field of nuclear nonproliferation, much of it working in or with the IAEA. The participants were Harold D. Bengelsdorf, William J. Dircks, David A. Kay, Myron B. Kratzer, Allan M. Labowitz, Donald A. Mahley, Joerg H. Menzel, and Charles

N. Van Doren. During this discussion, they voiced their individual views, which are not necessarily representative of the organizations with which they are currently affiliated. (For more information about these individuals, please see the section of this report entitled “About the Participants”, on page 29.) This roundtable discussion was held on 23 March 1993.

The group concluded that the less glamorous side of the IAEA’s operations-the administrative nuts and bolts-was frequently the key to the success, or lack thereof, of the IAEA’s safeguards inspection programs. To paraphrase one of experts, matters of substance cannot be addressed effectively if the administrative side of the house is not in order.

The experts concluded that the OPCW has much to loose if it blindly follows in the IAEA’s footsteps. Inseveral instances, the group advised against directly copying IAEA administrative proced ures, because over time they could foster numerous problems at the OPCW. The discussion emphasized lessons learned from the IAEA experience  for: personnel policies, budgetary policies, cost-cutting measures, technical cooperation and assistance programs, recruitment and training, and leadership.

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