OPCW Director-General Visits Bangladesh and Emphasises Role of Collaboration in Advancing Chemical Safety and Security

20 October 2016

The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, highlighted the need for everyone to work together to prevent the “fruits of scientific and technological developments” from falling into the hands of those who would misuse them “to make chemical weapons or use toxic chemicals as weapons” when speaking to participants at the Regional Seminar on Chemical Safety and Security Management during his visit to Bangladesh from 18 to 19 October.

“Preventing such contingencies or incidents is a responsibility shared by governments and industry, and by other stakeholders – it has to be a part of a collective endeavour to promote peace, security, and development,” explained the Director-General.

The seminar is aimed at sharing best practices on minimising the risk of chemical accidents and possible attacks. Ambassador Üzümcü encouraged the participants to continue to exercise their responsibilities as experts by providing guidance to industry on effective management of that fosters economic development while following the highest standards of safety and security. The Regional Seminar on Chemical Safety and Security Management was hosted by the Republic of Bangladesh and its National Authority, and was sponsored by the United States.

Over the two-day visit, the Director-General held discussions with Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr Abdul Hassan Mahmood Ali, M.P.; Minister for Industries, H.E. Mr Alhaz Amir Hossain Amu; and Chairman of the Bangladesh National Authority for CWC and Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division, Lieutenant General Md Mahfuzur Rahman.

He spoke to students at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) about how the Chemical Weapons Convention promotes science in service of peace and to Dhaka University students about past successes and future challenges for global chemical disarmament.

Ambassador Üzümcü met with Bangladeshi participants of the OPCW’s Associate’s Programme, that has just concluded its seventeenth edition, for experts from developing and transitioning economies to be exposed to modern practices in the chemical industry with a special emphasis on chemical safety.

Background

Bangladesh joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997 and is currently an elected member of the OPCW’s Executive Council until 2018.

Bangladesh is host to the Regional Seminar on Chemical Safety and Security Management taking place from 18-20 October 2016 in Dhaka. 

Bangladesh participates robustly in an extensive range of international cooperation programmes that aim to promote the peaceful use of chemistry. More than 200 representatives from Bangladesh have participated in these kinds of trainings, workshops and seminars organized by the OPCW. Representatives have also been actively involved in the OPCW’s Industry Outreach Programmes on topics such as chemical safety and security as chemical trade.

The Chemical Weapons Convention comprehensively prohibits the use, development, production, storage and transfer of chemical weapons. Any chemical used for warfare is considered a chemical weapon by the Convention.  The OPCW is the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention and oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons.

The Convention entered into force in 1997. With 192 countries obligating themselves to the CWC, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. To date, over 93 per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor states have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.

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