The OPCW, in cooperation with the Governments of Japan and Malaysia, conducted a three-day National Awareness Workshop and two-day mock industry inspection activity in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon, Myanmar from 25 to 29 August 2014.
The National Awareness Workshop was part of an ongoing effort on the part of the OPCW Technical Secretariat and States Parties to prepare government, industry, educational and other relevant stakeholders from Myanmar to implement the requirements of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) when Myanmar ratifies the convention.
In his inaugural remarks, Mr Win Khaing Moe, Director General, Myanmar Scientific and Technological Research Department, Ministry of Science and Technology, which hosted the workshop said, “Myanmar is making preparations to ratify the international treaties banning the use, production, and stockpiling of chemical and biological weapons, and this workshop is one of the examples. Ratification documents were being prepared for parliament’s approval.”
He further noted: “After signing, the CWC, we need to make amendments to the current law and procedures in advance to be in line with the Convention in order to proceed to ratification. This part will be carried out within the present government’s term. The Ministry of Industry submitted a bill on preventing the danger of chemicals and related articles to the Parliament in the early 2013. The bill is chiefly to be implemented in accordance with the convention Myanmar is obliged to follow. And the respective ministries are making preparations for related procedures and programs for implementation after bills were enacted.”
The key focus of the current activity has been on creating awareness with regard to the roles and functions of the National Authority of the CWC, convention-mandated declarations and verification. Experts from the Government of Malaysia shared their experiences and advice on the implementation of the convention.
The OPCW delegation also met with H.E. Mr. Wunna Maung Lwin, Minister of Foreign Affairs; H.E. Mr. Hla Myint Oo, MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary International Relations Committee; and H.E. Prof. Dr. Aung Kyaw Myat, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology. During these fruitful consultations the Ministers and the Chairman reaffirmed Myanmar’s political will and the commitment to joining the CWC at the earliest opportunity. Mr Oo also confirmed that Parliament would give early and positive consideration to the required CWC implementing legislation as soon as it was tabled by the Government.
The second element of the week-long activity was the conduct of a mock industry inspection exercise in conjunction with experts from Japan. The mock industry inspection was designed to provide training and to prepare future National Authority officials in Myanmar to receive OPCW inspections and to develop a clear understanding of the rights and obligations of a State Party during an inspection. The workshop was attended by more than 50 senior officials from a broad range of government departments, educational and technical institutions.