Professionals from Africa Build Competence to Prevent Chemical Accidents and Misuse of Chemicals

3 April 2017
Participants at OPCW workshop on chemical safety and security management

Participants at OPCW workshop on chemical safety and security management

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 4 April 2017 — Chemical industry professionals from across Africa are better equipped to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) after participating in a workshop on chemical safety and security management  conducted  by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in Kampala, Uganda, from 27-29 March 2017.

 “It is essential to learn how to reduce and eliminate safety and security risks at chemical plants to prevent chemical accidents and the potential misuse of chemicals,” stated OPCW’s Senior International Cooperation Officer, Rohan Perera. He said that while large companies usually have proper safety and security practices in place, small and medium enterprises require a degree of capacity building. “This workshop presents a step-by-step guide on how to set up and manage an effective safety and security framework in a chemical plant,” he explained.

 

The programme was inaugurated by the Honourable Herbert Kabafunzaki, Minister of State and Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations in the Republic of Uganda. In his opening remarks he stated that “chemical safety and security management is continually an important subject in our region and it is paramount that there is continuous capacity building in this field.”

 

The 26 attendees represented 15 OPCW Member States and formed a diverse group ranging from government officials responsible for chemical industries and small to medium chemical industry professionals, to academics and chemists.

 

The workshop’s agenda included briefings on African countries’ experiences in safety management in chemical industries. Topics included: industry outreach, chemical safety and security risk assessment for accident prevention and preparedness, Responsible Care for Africa Region and chemical threat mitigation strategies. Expert speakers at the conference included specialists from the Kenyan Chemical Society, Ugandan National Authority and the OPCW.

 

This training was supported by the European Union.

 

Background

 

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.

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