The Crown Princess attends the OPCW's 20th anniversary celebrations

On Wednesday 26 April, The Crown Princess took part in the opening of the OPCW's 20th anniversary celebrations in The Hague, the Netherlands. The OPCW is an international collaborative body that was created to ensure that the UN Chemical Weapons Convention is followed.

The morning's ceremony took place in the Hall of the Knights at the Binnenhof, and marked the start of the OPCW's 20th anniversary celebrations.

The Crown Princess with other attendees, including Mayor of The Hague Pauline Krikke, OPCW's Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü, King Willem-Alexander and the Netherlands' Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders. Photo: OPCW

The Crown Princess gave a speech, in which she said: "As a student I had the privilege of following Dr Hans Blix and his colleagues at the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, in their work at the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission for Iraq. This was an experience that inspired me in my further university studies. Chemical weapons disarmament remains something that I follow.

"Twenty years is not a long time. Nevertheless, the OPCW has made great strides towards a world free of chemical weapons. This has been done in close cooperation with governments, the chemical industry and military personnel. Let me point out just a few of these achievements:

"First, the international norm against chemical weapons is stronger than ever before. The use of chemical weapons is now universally acknowledged as an international crime, potentially a war crime or a crime against humanity. At the height of the Cold War, more than 20 countries were producing chemical weapons. Today, almost all of the world's nations have renounced such arms and become parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

"Second, chemical weapons arsenals are gradually becoming a thing of the past. The OPCW has verified the destruction of many thousands of tonnes of chemical warfare agents and millions of munitions. In some states that are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW has verified the complete destruction of stockpiles. And I understand that in only a few years, all stockpiles declared by these states will be destroyed forever.

"Third, as an Advocate for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, I am heartened to know that the OPCW not only promotes peace, justice and accountability. It also contributes to other development goals through its international cooperation programme."

Read the speech in full hereopens in new window.

Speakers also included UN Secretary-General António Guterres, OPCW's Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü and the Netherlands' Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders.

The ceremony concluded with King Willem-Alexander and OPCW's Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü unveiling a commemorative jubilee plaque. Photo: OPCW

The OPCW (The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons)

The OPCW is an international collaborative body between governments that was created to ensure that the UN Chemical Weapons Convention is followed. The organisation has 192 member nationsexternal link, opens in new window.

The convention was adopted in 1992, and entered into force in 1997. It forbids the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, and regulates the destruction of existing stockpiles. All states that have ratified the convention are members of the OPCW.

According to the convention, the OPCW has the right to inspect facilities for the destruction of chemical weapons and industrial facilities that could be used for the production of chemical weapons.

In 2013, the OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.

The OPCW has its head office in The Hague, the Netherlands.