Since late 2010 we have hosted a number of roundtables to assist with the realization of a WMDFZ in the Middle East. We hold all our roundtables under the Chatham House Rule with participants from academia, governments and experts from across the region and beyond. These events are supported and organized in partnership with leading international and regional organizations and governments, such as Green Cross, Chatham House, King’s College London, the Irish and Swedish foreign ministries and Scottish Members of Parliament.
The following is a summary of some of our past roundtables and other activities to advance the zone.
November 2013 – Tel Aviv, Israel: The objective of the roundtable was to learn more about the language, rhetoric, thoughts, and even fears of Israeli officials and civil society organizations, when it comes to discussion around a WMDFZ. This was the first time civil society had hosted such an event in Israel.
November 2014 – Tel Aviv, Israel: This roundtable focused on an issue rarely discussed in Israel – chemical weapons: what the CWC has to offer, how chemical weapons play into the dynamics of the Middle East and the possibility of Israel joining the CWC.
February 2016 – London, UK: A workshop to start the process of envisaging, planning and writing a Draft Treaty.
May 2017 – Vienna, Austria: The Draft Treaty process was presented for the first time at the 2017 NPT Preparatory Committee, and diplomats present were able to quiz the core team.
June & October 2017 – New York, USA: Presentations were made at the negotiations for the TPNW (June 2017), and subsequently during the UN First Committee side event (October 2017). The rest of the year was dedicated to research, interviewing renowned international and regional experts and improving the Draft Treaty.
January 2018 – Edinburgh, Scotland: A roundtable was convened in which participants from academia and civil society organizations provided recommendations and amendments to the Draft Treaty text.
May 2018 – Geneva, Switzerland: We presented the Draft Treaty, which by now had gone through several iterations, to over 100 delegates at the 2018 NPT Preparatory Committee. The reaction from officials and disarmament community was positive and created momentum to build closer partnerships to accelerate the project.
July 2018 – Zurich, Switzerland: Delegates, with extensive diplomatic and technical experience, from the Middle East and Europe, met to further develop the text of the Draft Treaty and identify cooperative approaches to overcoming the challenging obstacles in the way of a WMDFZ.
August 2018 – Geneva, Switzerland: The Draft Treaty and the METO Project were presented at the BWC Group of Experts. There was great interest in our work and enthusiasm from the delegates to support efforts to reduce the threat of biological weapons in the region.
September 2018 – London, UK: Two roundtables were held at Chatham House and King’s College London on double layered verification systems within the zone and the METO Project. There were further discussions on compliance mechanisms regarding biological, chemical and nuclear programs.
September 2018 – Edinburgh, Scotland: The Draft Treaty and the METO Project was presented to the Scottish Parliament.
November 2018 – Amman, Jordan: Discussions took place on the Draft Treaty and our efforts to create momentum towards the zone at the Amman Security Colloquium and Nuclear Forum.
November 2018 – Tel Aviv, Israel: Off-the-record meetings were held with diplomats and former Israeli officials in Tel Aviv on the issue of nuclear disarmament and the benefits arising from the WMDFZ for regional stability and security.
November 2018 – The Hague, Netherlands: A presentation was made to delegates at the CWC Review Conference. This provided the opportunity to better assess the views from the chemical weapons disarmament community and incorporate them into the Draft Treaty and our future activities.
December 2018 – Geneva, Switzerland: Deliberations with delegates and nongovernmental organisations at the Biological Weapons Conventions (BWC) Meeting of State Parties. The conference provided our team the opportunity to incorporate the input from the biological weapons disarmament community into the draft treaty and expand our network of experts.