In November 2019, the states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) adopted proposals to add novichok nerve agents to the CWC’s Annex on Chemicals. This represented an important manifestation of cooperation in a CWC-implementation environment that is largely characterized by concerns about compliance and outright accusations of non-compliance. Yet, the question remains whether this technical amendment of the CWC has actually solved or only temporarily masked more fundamental CWC compliance and accountability issues.

This report discusses and analyses the use of a novichok nerve agent in the United Kingdom in March 2018. This triggered a political process at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that led to the amendment of the CWC schedules. It provides a factual overview of the scientific discussion around the novichok class of chemical agents, and how this has changed since the amendment of the CWC schedules was adopted. Against the background of the cases where nerve agents have been used for political assassination, the report concludes with a discussion of implications of the schedule amendments for compliance with, and implementation of, the chemical weapons prohibition regime. 

Citation: Alexander Kelle (2022) "Adding Novichok Nerve Agents to the CWC Annex on Chemicals: A Technical Fix and its Implications for the Chemical Weapons Prohibition Regime", UNIDIR, Geneva, Switzerland.

Sponsor Organizations: Government of Norway.