Inspecting the world’s security

Jim Ottelé (33) flies around the world to check that countries are complying with the ban on chemical weapons. ‘Even though we need plastic bottles, I don’t want to get involved in that kind of work.’
Jessica Vermeer,
C2W | Mens & Molecule

It is rare to speak to someone who is as enthusiastic about his work as Jim Ottelé. He has been an inspector with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) since September 2022, monitoring compliance with international agreements. Inspectors oversee the destruction of chemical weapons and check around the world that chemical production facilities are not producing new weapons.

Ottelé wants to work where he can do something good for the world, and he can think of no better place than the OPCW. He and his colleagues enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). This treaty, which came into force in 1997, states that member states must not develop, produce, stockpile or use chemical weapons. They must destroy their existing weapons and production facilities themselves.

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