THE HAGUE, Netherlands—13 October 2017—National Authority representatives from 28 OPCW Member States bolstered their skills in enforcing the declaration and inspection aspects of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) during a training course by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), held in The Hague from 18–22 September.
The OPCW Director of International Cooperation and Assistance Division, Mr. Hamza Khelif, emphasised the importance of the training noting that, ‘’the significant scale of the global chemical industry growth makes close to 4,800 industrial facilities liable to OPCW inspection today. Therefore, National Authorities are expected to play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of Article VI of the CWC, when it comes to declarations and the efficiency of escorting OPCW inspections.’’
The training concentrated on Article VI of the CWC, the industry verification regime, and covered chemicals to be monitored under the Convention, tools to assist in the identification of scheduled chemicals, preparation of declarations, identification of declarable chemical industry activities, and activities before, during, and after OPCW inspections. The programme balanced theoretical and practical training methodologies, offering both presentation sessions and hands-on exercises.
The training included a demonstration and technical exercises around Electronic Declarations for National Authorities (EDNA) software and the Secure Information Exchange (SIX) platform. The demonstrations and trainings were intended to encourage increased use of the software when developing future national declarations.
Additionally, in cooperation with the National Authority of the Netherlands, the training included a mock OPCW inspection at two Dutch chemical industry sites in Gouda and Rotterdam, giving participants a chance to experience inspection procedures.
The course was attended by 28 representatives from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Iraq, Lithuania, Malawi, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, St Lucia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uganda, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
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 96 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.