The OPCW officially commenced the 13th edition of its annual Associate Programme today at the Organisation’s headquarters in The Hague. Launched by the OPCW in 2000, the programme trains chemists and chemical engineers in the peaceful uses of chemistry and provides in-depth understanding of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and of the OPCW, thereby enhancing Member States’ capacity to implement the Convention at national level. It has steadily grown into a major international training programme that directly contributes to the economic and technological development of Member States as stipulated by Article XI of the CWC.
The OPCW Deputy Director-General, Mrs Grace Asirwatham, chaired the opening session on behalf of the Director-General and delivered a speech to the participants. She expressed appreciation to Member States for their continuing support to the programme and for the support of various other partners, including the World Customs Organization (WCO), European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), European Association of Chemical Distributors (FECC), European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Dutch Customs Authorities, City and Port of Rotterdam, and Technical University of Delft.
This year’s 9-week course has 32 Associates from as many countries*, who will participate in lectures and exercises at the OPCW headquarters, visit specialised institutions in the Netherlands and attend a 3-week “Chemical Engineering-Oriented Skills Development Course” at the University of Surrey, UK. The Associates will then be hosted for three weeks by chemical industries in Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, an on-the-job experience that provides skills to operate in a modern chemical industry with an emphasis on chemical safety.
* Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Jordan, Malaysia, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Sudan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Uganda, Uruguay, Viet Nam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.