THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 11 September 2017– First Responders from East African Community (EAC) countries benefited from an instructor training held at Ditholo Air Base Tshwane, South Africa from 14-25 August 2017.
The sixth edition of the course – jointly organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Government of South Africa – aimed to provide basic knowledge to instructors from agencies involved in emergency response to chemical agents, as a way of creating a pool of trainers in African countries capable of disseminating knowledge on topics related to response to a chemical incident.
The East African Community Secretariat representative, Mr Ambrose Mwashi pointed out that, ”The course enhances the skills of instructors in the EAC region when it comes to offering training on providing protection against chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals and how to manage chemical incidents.”
Twenty-two attendees from Burundi, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda acquired knowledge about assistance and protection under article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention, joint management of incidents involving hazardous chemical agents, factors influencing dispersal of chemical and biological weapons and participated in table top and practical exercises.
Instructors from Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic and Malaysia delivered presentations under the Programme of Development and Exchange of instructors, which was established during the first meeting of Assistance and Protection Training Centres held in Switzerland in July 2013.
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-six 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.