First Responders from Middle East and North Africa Reinforce Emergency Response Skills

13 December 2017
Participants at a Regional Advanced Course and Field Exercise on Assistance held at Qatar Army CBRN Regional Training Centre in Doha

Participants at a Regional Advanced Course and Field Exercise on Assistance held at Qatar Army CBRN Regional Training Centre in Doha

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 13 December 2017 — First Responders from OPCW Member States representing Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region fortified their skills in emergency response and protection during a Regional Advanced Course and Field Exercise on Assistance held at Qatar Army CBRN Regional Training Centre in Doha, Qatar from 4 – 8 December.

The training was jointly organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons (NCPW) of the State of Qatar. 

OPCW’s Senior Assistance and Protection Officer, Mr Shahriar Khateri, emphasised in his opening speech that this training constituted “a forum for enhancing the capacity-building against chemical weapons” and provided opportunity “to discuss practical challenges in creating an effective response system to deal with the use or threat of use of chemical weapons and other chemical incidents”. 

    First Responders preparing to train

    First Responders preparing to train

    The participants learned how to use protective equipment; manage monitoring, detection and decontamination operations; as well as provide first aid in the field for chemical casualties. 

    Moreover, the training included a table top exercise and a field activity on responding to a chemical incident.

    The training was attended by 36 First Responders from ten OPCW States Parties: Algeria, Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan and Tunisia. 

    The exercise is the second stage of the Regional Assistance and Protection project for Arabic-speaking States Parties in the Middle East and North Africa Region, which included a basic course held in Casablanca, Morocco in May 2017. 

    Background

    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.

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