THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 7 April 2017 — A workshop run by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) provided tailored assistance to countries in the Caribbean and Central America that have yet to draft their national implementing legislation – in Bridgetown, Barbados from 21 to 24 March 2017.
The workshop gave legal drafters and national authority representatives for States Parties in the Caribbean and Central America the opportunity to create initial draft legislation under the guidance of OPCW’s International Cooperation and Assistance Branch.
Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage of Barbados, Mr Edison Alleyne, underscored in his opening remarks the importance of national implementation by States Parties in the region: “While we may not produce chemical weapons, many of our countries use or generate toxic chemicals through activities not prohibited under the Convention – which could be precursors for the manufacture of chemical weapons. We must remind our stakeholders of this, not to scare them, but to stress the importance of having a comprehensive chemical management process with a strong legal foundation.”
To date, a number of States Parties in Latin America and the Caribbean have yet to adopt comprehensive implementing legislation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Out of the 33 States Parties in the area, only 15 have legislation covering all the elements required under the Convention, while nine States Parties have legislation covering only some of these elements. Nine others have yet to adopt any legislation.
The Workshop consisted of two days of presentations to familiarise participants with the CWC, and two days of drafting sessions to equip participants with technical skills to draft the legislation and pursue its adoption.
By the end of the four day session, each participant presented draft legislation that was fully in line with the provisions of the CWC, meets the requirements of their respective national legislative bodies, and could be submitted to their parliaments.
Into the future, the OPCW will continue to monitor the progress of adoption of draft legislation by States Parties.
The event brought together 30 participants from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and was hosted with EU funding.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
To date, nearly 95 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.