THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 6 July – 2017 Representatives of customs services and National Authorities from the Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) considered improvements to national curricula on the transfer regime of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), during a training-of-trainers course held at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague from 20 to 23 June.
This was already the second edition of a course targeting national customs training institutions and organised by the OPCW in cooperation with the World Customs Organization (WCO).
OPCW Deputy Director-General, Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao emphasised in his opening remarks the importance of capacity-building of customs officials who are “at the frontline of implementing the CWC transfers regime of scheduled chemicals”. He noted that the role of customs authorities is even more prominent in the context of today’s challenges posed by non-State actors.
“To counter such threats, the OPCW together with its partners has continued to enhance capacity of Member States and their national authorities to deal with contingencies and, most importantly, to develop and implement prevention mechanisms,” stated the Deputy Director-General.
WCO’s Strategic Trade Control Enforcement Programme Coordinator, Mr Hugo German, underlined: “Customs administrations are indispensable in ensuring border security and curbing the proliferation of strategic and dual-use commodities used in the development of weapons of mass destruction. Only by building national and international partnerships can we deny access to dual-use chemicals to terrorist groups.”
The course’s participants examined the transfer regime of scheduled chemicals instituted by the CWC. They also presented current customs training curricula and outlined roadmaps for their improvement through the introduction of CWC-related modules and materials.
The visit to the OPCW Laboratory provided attendees with practical insights into chemical sample analysis, an important function performed by customs laboratories as part of strategic trade control system.
Twenty-two training’s participants represented the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cuba, India, Italy, Malawi, Nigeria and Pakistan.
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.
Ninety-five 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.
- Opening Remarks by the OPCW Deputy Director-General, Training-for-Trainers Course on Technical Aspects of the CWC Transfers Regime for Representatives of Customs Training Institutions (20 June 2017)
- OPCW and World Customs Organization Expand Cooperation to Prevent Misuse of Toxic Chemicals (13 January 2017)
- OPCW Fact Sheets