International Group of First Responders Upgrade Skills to Respond to Attacks with Chemical Warfare Agents

26 September 2018
Participants at the International Advanced Assistance and Protection Course held in Beijing

Participants at the International Advanced Assistance and Protection Course held in Beijing

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 26 September 2018 – First responders from 14 Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) increased their skills in responding to emergencies involving chemical weapons during the 8th edition of the International Advanced Assistance and Protection Course held in Beijing, People´s Republic of China, from 17 to 21 September.

General Commander of the Institute of Chemical and Biological Defence (ICBD) of the Chinese Ministry of Defence, Major General Hu Xiaoping, underscored his country’s commitment, through such training courses, to enhancing the OPCW Member States’ capabilities to handle chemical attacks.

Senior Programme Officer from the Assistance and Protection Branch of the OPCW, Mr Justo Quintero Méndez, underlined the importance of building international capacities to respond to chemical attacks, stating that, “In these efforts, the OPCW enjoys the strongest support from China.”

During a series of lectures and exercises, the participants expanded their knowledge and practical skills in chemical warfare agents’ detection, and reconnaissance, decontamination and rescue techniques.

The 20 participants – who had previously received basic Assistance and Protection training earlier this year in Turkey – represented four geographical regions including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin American and the Caribbean. The countries of participants’ origins included Bulgaria, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Estonia, Nigeria, Peru, Phillipines, Romania, Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uganda and Ukraine.

Participants at the International Advanced Assistance and Protection Course held in Beijing

Participants at the International Advanced Assistance and Protection Course held in Beijing

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 193 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

Over 96% 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 Peace Prize.

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