THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 20 March 2018 – Trainers in the protection against chemical weapons gained new expertise during an exercise of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), held in Spiez, Switzerland from 12 – 16 March.
Designed to assist OPCW Member States to establish protection capability against chemical weapons, the exercise was organised in collaboration with the Government of Switzerland and held at the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Training Centre of the Swiss Armed Forces in Spiez. Twenty-one instructors from 19 OPCW Member States were in attendance.
Captain Oscar Duarte from the Uruguayan Army expressed his appreciation for the training stating that, “The model of instruction fits perfectly with the Uruguayan military personnel, with its well-defined stages, starting with learning the technical procedures, followed by deepening the knowledge and developing instructor skills, and finally training to apply this knowledge in various situations.”
The attendees gained practical skills in the assistance and protection against chemical weapons, including the proper use of individual protective equipment, monitoring, detection and decontamination techniques, and sampling-and-detection methods in a mobile laboratory.
The exercise concluded the 2017/2018 Swiss training cycle, which included basic, advanced and laboratory courses.
The participants represented the following States Parties: Argentina, Armenia, Benin, Cameroon, Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Paraguay, Philippines, Sri Lanka, St Lucia, Tunisia, Uganda, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.
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.