THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 9 October 2017 – First Responders from Asia gained new skills for responding to emergencies involving chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals during the 12th International Advanced Assistance and Protection Course for Asian States Parties in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 25-29 September.
The course objectives included consolidating knowledge acquired by responders during the 2017 regional training cycle, and boosting skills gained in Tehran, Iran from 28 June- 2 July 2017. It was jointly organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Republic of Korea CBRN Defence Command (CBRN DC).
OPCW’s Assistance and Protection Branch Project Officer, Mr Guy Valente, underlined the importance of the knowledge and skills passed on to the participants during this course, noting that, “In completing this training and incorporating the knowledge conveyed by our capable hosts here in South Korea, each of you becomes a critical component in your home country’s capacity to effectively respond to chemical threats”.
The training gave participants the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge in a field exercise on the CBRN DC training ground. The participants learned how to use hazard prediction tools and personal protective equipment, and how to detect, sample, and decontaminate personnel and equipment in the context of chemical emergency response in the Republic of Korea.
The training was designed to build upon concepts conveyed in participants’ previous training, under the guidance of expert instructors from the CBRN DC and OPCW.
Sixteen participants took part in the training from 12 OPCW Member States: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, and Sri Lanka.
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.
Over 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.