The Programme aims to foster a better understanding of the objectives of the Chemical Weapons Convention and to promote the peaceful uses of chemistry, with an emphasis on chemical safety.
The objectives of the Programme are to:
- facilitate national implementation of the Convention in relation to the chemical industry;
- enhance national capacities in Member States by offering training to personnel from industry, academic institutions, and government in chemistry, chemical engineering, and related areas;
- facilitate trade through the adoption of sound practices in the chemical industry; and
- broaden the talent pool for industry-related positions in the National Authorities, institutions, and economies of the Member States, as well as in the Secretariat.
The Programme is designed for chemists and chemical engineers, especially from Member States whose economies are either developing or in transition. It has been designed to give them access to the skills and experience required to operate effectively in the context of the modern chemical industry. The Programme for 2021 will accommodate 40 participants.
Twenty-six candidates who had been originally selected to take part in the Associate Programme 2020, but were unable to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have automatically qualified for the Associate Programme 2021. Consequently, there are 14 slots left to be filled in 2021.
The provisional programme includes the following components:
- An induction segment at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague, aimed at offering an overview of the Convention and the various aspects of the work of the OPCW. This segment also includes lectures on the activities of National Authorities and other relevant Convention stakeholders (such as the European Chemical Industry Council, the European Association of Chemical Distributors, the European Chemicals Agency, and the World Customs Organization), as well as study visits to the head office of the Dutch Customs Administration in Rotterdam, and the Port of Rotterdam. During the induction segment, participants will choose research projects and will start working on them in pairs under the supervision of OPCW staff. Participants will also be trained on various safety and security aspects of operational environment in chemical plants
- A university segment, consisting of chemical engineering training at an internationally recognised university and comprising: a course aimed at developing skills in relation to chemical engineering (relevant areas include process operations, mass balancing, risk assessment, safety management, etc.); training on specific skills needed in the field of industrial management (communication, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving); and the application of the acquired skills and knowledge in a simulated company environment
- An intermediate segment at OPCW Headquarters, including a two-day inspection table-top exercise and study visits to the OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store. Time will also be allotted for working on the research projects selected during the induction segment
- An industrial segment, during which participants will be placed in chemical plants in Member States to gain exposure to modern practices in chemical industries, with a focus on chemical safety
- A final segment at OPCW Headquarters, which will include presentations on the industrial assignments, research projects, and a final review period.