UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Friday congratulated the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for being awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
"From the battlefields to the laboratories to the negotiating table, the United Nations is honored to work hand-in-hand with the OPCW to eliminate the threat posed by chemical weapons for all people and for all time," Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.
"The OPCW has greatly strengthened the rule of law in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation," he said. "Thanks in large measure to its efforts, 80 percent of the declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed."
Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, announced Friday that OPCW has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize "for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."
In the statement, Ban said he strongly believes that the award can inspire other parts of the global disarmament machinery to live up to the expectations of the international community.
After nearly 100 years since the first use of chemical weapons, Ban said, the deadly weapons remain a "clear and present danger," as shown by the Syrian crisis.
The OPCW is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which entered into force in 1997. Currently having 189 members, the organization is working to achieve a world free from chemical weapons.
Since mid-August this year, the OPCW has been in Syria working on destroying chemical weapons.
"The OPCW has a specific task -- to eliminate chemical weapons and prevent them from ever re-emerging. But it also has a broad mission -- to prove that the inhumanity of war can give rise to the humanity of solidarity and international cooperation," he said.
The UN chief also underlined that progress must be complemented by efforts to gain universal adherence to the CWC, while urging all countries to sign, ratify and implement it without delay.