THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 9 October 2017– Emergency response trainers from Latin America and the Caribbean gained new skills on response to incidents involving chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals during a specialist course held at the Spanish National NBC Defence School in Madrid, Spain from 25 September – 4 October.
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) Senior Assistance and Protection Officer, Mr Justo Quintero Mendez, underlined the importance of the skills acquired by participants during this course. He noted, “The contribution of instructors from Latin America and the Caribbean is important in strengthening regional response capabilities against chemical attacks and incidents involving toxic industrial chemicals’’.
The Spanish National Authority to the Chemical Weapons Convention’s (CWC) Executive Secretary, Ms Nieves Gómez Sainz de Aja, added: “It is paramount that the knowledge and protocols provided by this training serve as a complement to the training activities that you design and implement in your home countries.”
Twenty-six attendees represented the following OPCW Member States: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St Lucia and Uruguay. Three participants from Spain also joined the course.
This course is part of the OPCW’s activities to implement Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which focuses on assistance and protection against chemical weapons.
The training-of-trainers approach helps ensure sustainable and efficient use of OPCW resources for capacity building. This course is part of the Organisation’s Instructor Development and Exchange Programme, which aims to build and exchange knowledge, skills and protocols in the area of assistance and protection.
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.