THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 15 May 2018 — Chemical safety and security experts from Asia shared expertise and best practises during a seminar run by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from 7 to 9 May 2018.
The seminar – organised in collaboration with the National Authority for Chemical Weapons in Cambodia – brought together 37 participants from 15 OPCW Member States, representing National Authorities, chemical industry, industry associations, policy makers and academia.
Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, H.E. Mr Tea Banch, stated that the seminar would help “create a regional vision to build and strengthen the capacity to respond to incidents [occurring] during chemical transport, storage, [due to] negligence, and/or during natural disasters.”
The Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, H. E. Mr Uch Borith, reflected that “The risk of non-State actors’ access to sensitive materials remains a major challenge; it is absolutely imperative that such materials should be properly secured.”
OPCW’s Senior International Cooperation Officer, Mr Rohan Perera, noted that, “This seminar testifies to the strong cooperation between the OPCW and the Kingdom of Cambodia in promoting the peaceful uses of chemistry and the full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention”.
The attendees exchanged views on various aspects of chemical safety and security management, including risk management; the role of industry associations in chemical processes and safety management; vulnerability assessments; chemical threat reduction; and, the development of national policy. Furthermore, participants highlighted the pivotal role of the OPCW in coordinating the creation of unified chemical safety and security guidelines for small and medium chemical enterprises.
The participants represented the following OPCW Member States: Australia, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
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.