OPCW Technical Assistance Visit to Myanmar

22 February 2013

A team of senior OPCW officials recently completed a 3-day technical assistance visit to Nay Pyi Taw that was undertaken at the request of the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar actively participated in the process of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva that led to the adoption of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and in meetings of the Preparatory Commission in The Hague prior to the establishment of the OPCW in 1997. Myanmar was one of the CWC’s earliest signatories, having signed the Convention on 14 January 1993. Since then there has been active and ongoing engagement between its Government and the OPCW in the context of Myanmar’s efforts aimed at full membership in the Convention. 

The technical assistance visit consisted of a 3-day National Awareness Workshop for senior decision makers and stakeholders in national CWC implementation, which was held in Nay Pyi Taw and attended by more than 25 participants.  The participants included honourable members of the Bill Committee from the Assembly of the Union as well as senior representatives from the Ministries of Science and Technology, Home Affairs, Defense, Foreign Affairs, Industry, Finance and Revenue, Transport, and Commerce.

The high-level participation in the workshop reflected the importance which the Government of Myanmar attaches to the noble goals of the CWC in promoting disarmament and non-proliferation and further strengthening international peace and security. H.E. Dr. Zaw Min Aung, Honourable Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, welcomed the workshop and noted that cooperation between the OPCW and Myanmar would lead to sustainable development and safety in industry, health and protection of the natural environment. 

The Deputy Minister expressed the hope that the workshop would contribute to further strengthening the close cooperation between the OPCW and the chemical industry in what is an outstanding collaboration between the public and private sectors. Dr. Aung added that “this partnership transcends the common and legitimate pursuit of business and seeks the realization of higher hopes for a peaceful and secure world.”

The workshop was aimed at providing practical assistance to relevant agencies and stakeholders on various aspects related to national implementation of the CWC, including an overview of various provisions of the Convention, its legislative framework, declarations requirements, the verification regime and OPCW programmes to foster international cooperation and assistance. 

The OPCW Director-General expressed his appreciation for the positive approach of the Government of Myanmar and noted that the Organisation looks forward to welcoming the Union of Myanmar as a State Party to the CWC, thereby moving closer to the ultimate objective of achieving full universality of the Convention.

The workshop was a joint endeavour between the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the OPCW and an important step in the continuing engagement between the two sides. Based on this successful engagement, more joint activities and events are expected in the coming months.

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