THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 12 December 2017 — The alumni of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) Associate Programme offered fresh ideas on how the Programme can continue growing and responding to changing educational needs of chemistry professionals, at the 5th annual webinar held from 25 November – 1 December.
International Cooperation Officer and coordinator of the Associate Programme, Mr Dawsar Drissi, stated that “the webinar offers an annual forum for programme alumni to come together, inform each other about their activities related to the Chemical Weapons Convention, share lessons learned and best practices, and reflect on how to enhance the Associate Programme’s curriculum and impact.”
Over the week, 65 alumni addressed three matters: extending the programme’s impact, ensuring the continued relevance of its curriculum, and orienting its future. Alumni also shared updates on their post-programme activities and professional endeavours.
To uphold the Programme’s leadership position in the dynamic field of chemical safety and security, the participants recommended including in the programme topics currently trending, such as sustainable chemistry, chemical security, and countering chemical terrorism. They also suggested structuring the course content and objectives to coincide with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The Associate Programme is an annual capacity-building programme largely benefiting participants from developing countries and those whose economies are in transition. It provides a valuable opportunity for scientists and other professionals to be exposed to modern practices in chemical industry.
The Associate Programme boasts a dynamic group of over 400 alumni from 121 of OPCW’s Member States. The Associate Programme Alumni Association serves as a platform for networking and exchanging views, scientific information, and professional experiences.
The positive impact of the programme is evidenced by the initiatives and activities regularly undertaken by alumni worldwide to support their National Authorities and disseminate the knowledge and expertise they gained during the course.
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.