THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 22 December 2017 – Emergency First Responders from Asia acquired expertise during a field exercise on chemical emergency response held in Singapore’s Civil Defence Academy from 18-21 December.
The event was jointly organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Government of Singapore. The training course was held with support from Singapore Civil Defence Forces (SCDF).
OPCW’s Senior Assistance and Protection Officer, Mr Shahriar Khateri, expressed hope in his opening speech that, “your participation in this training will contribute to building preparedness in your respective states to respond timely and effectively to chemical emergencies.”
The aim of the field exercise was to train participants in planning for, and building a support team to conduct appropriate responses in incidents involving chemical weapons agents or toxic industrial chemicals. This also includes detection, rescue, and decontamination operations in contaminated areas.
This exercise is related to regional emergency response capacity building within the framework of the Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), for States Parties in the Asia region.
The field exercise was attended by 21 participants from 12 OPCW Member States: Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Maldives, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka.
The exercise is the final part of the annual training cycle on chemical emergency response in the region which included the basic course in Colombo, Sri Lanka in February 2017 and the advanced course in Beijing, China in July 2017.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and 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.