States Parties received help in creating robust safety and security management systems as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released invaluable resources on ‘Needs and Best Practices on Chemical Safety and Security’.
This first publication in a series of guidance tools was released on 30 November and outlined best practices, identified through the contributions of the sixteen countries who answered the OPCW Technical Secretariat’s call for information. The report’s launch took place at an event in conjunction with the Twenty-First Conference of States Parties in The Hague.
Addressing more than sixty participants at the event, the OPCW Deputy Director-General, H.E. Mr Hamid Ali Rao, encouraged more States Parties to come forward to share information. He further emphasised the need for us all to work together to allay the potentially disastrous impact of chemical incidents “for the benefit of all humankind”.
During the launch event, attendees were offered a glimpse into some of the regulations, frameworks and best practices identified in the report, which underpin public and private sector safety and security management systems. The audience said that the report’s collection of more than 60 links to guidance documents made the publication an effective and easy-to-use reference point.
The need for experience-sharing to help less developed countries make headway in chemical safety and security was highlighted, once again, by participants who reiterated their conviction that collaboration is key to guaranteeing better protection for both citizens and enterprises.
This report marks the first step in curating a collection of OPCW manuals that will feature tools, guidance and best practices in chemical safety and security management. The Organisation intends to utilise this initiative to develop an extensive compendium of lessons learned in order to strengthen integrated approaches to chemical risk management worldwide.
At its Sixteenth Session, the Conference of the States Parties adopted a decision (C 16/DEC.10, dated 1 December, 2011) tasking the States Parties and OPCW’s Technical Secretariat to “conduct, based on input from National Authorities and relevant stakeholders, a needs assessment on tools and guidance that would be helpful for promoting chemical safety and security.”
Subsequently, the Technical Secretariat invited Member States to provide information about the tools and practices in chemical safety and security management.
Sixteen State Parties responded to the invitation, including: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Chile, Cuba, Germany, Latvia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Peru, Panama, Sri Lanka, Sudan, United Kingdom, United States of America and Yemen.
Successive reports will include additional Member States’ responses.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty, eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
To date, nearly 94 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.