The 17th edition of the OPCW Associate Programme was co-inaugurated today by The OPCW Deputy Director-General, Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao, and H.E. Ambassador Christoph Israng, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany.
This is a “unique and invaluable opportunity to support the mission and spirit of the Chemical Weapons Convention in your home country and region”, said Ambassador Rao in his opening remarks.
Addressing the participants, Ambassador Rao added: “Upon your return home, it is our sincere hope that that you will serve as a valuable advocate and resource for the implementation of the Convention, as well as for the promotion of the peaceful uses of chemistry.”
He also underlined that the Associate Programme is one of the OPCW’s largest training programmes. “It is aimed at building the capacities of chemists and chemical engineers from countries whose economies are either developing or in transition, and equip them not only with the knowledge on the Chemical Weapons Convention but also with the skills to operate safely and effectively in modern chemical industrial settings.”
Ambassador Christoph Israng underlined that despite many achievements, the OPCW is now working to counter new challenges, such as chemical terrorism: “The OPCW cannot tackle these challenges alone. It needs partners. Partners like us State Parties that have to increase their efforts to fully implement the CWC, but also responsible individuals like you that make an essential contribution to the CWC. This is what I call the OPCW family – and you are part of this OPCW family.”
Thirty-two participants from 32 OPCW member states will attend a nine-week course. The agenda combines lectures and exercises at the OPCW Headquarters in The Hague and specialised institutions in the Netherlands. The attendees will also travel to the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, for a three-week Chemical Engineering-Oriented Skills Development Course. They will afterwards undertake, in pairs, three week- attachments at chemical facilities in 13 Member States in Europe, Asia and Latin America, learning how to operate successfully in a modern chemical industry setting, including the chemical safety framework. The facilities contributing to the Programme are located in Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Poland, Spain and Sri Lanka.
This year’s participants represent the following countries: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Cuba, The Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Gambia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.
Since its inception in 2000, the OPCW Associate Programme has evolved into a major international training project, fostering the economic and technological development of OPCW member states, which is one of the pillars of the Convention. To date, nearly 400 experts from 116 countries have participated in the Programme.
The Associate Programme is made possible through continuing support from the OPCW member states and various partners, including representatives of chemical industry, academia and entities such as 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.
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