THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 8 October 2018 — The nineteenth edition of the Associate Programme concluded on 5 October with a ceremony at the Headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. During the nine-week Associate Programme, professionals representing science, industry, governmental agencies and academia successfully developed their knowledge of the Chemical Weapons Convention, broadened their chemical engineering proficiency, and furthered their understanding of the best practices applied in modern chemical industries.
OPCW’s Director-General, Fernando Arias, addressed the participants, representing 31 OPCW Member States, and emphasised that “the Associate Programme is adding value to global efforts to ensure that chemical weapons never re-emerge, and that chemistry is applied exclusively to benefit humankind”.
The programme included three weeks of exercises and lectures at OPCW Headquarters, a three-week chemical engineering course at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, and three weeks of practical training at one of 18 industrial plant facilities located in 14 OPCW Member States in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Participating individuals of this year’s Associate Programme came from the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, China, Ethiopia, Gambia, Georgia, Iraq, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
The 19th edition of the Associate Programme was organised with the support of partners, including the University of Surrey, the World Customs Organization, the European Chemical Industry Council, the European Association of Chemical Distributors, the European Chemicals Agency, the Dutch Customs Authorities, the City of Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam.
The following industry plants and facilities hosted participants during their three-week placement: Oxiteno (Brazil), Suatrans Emergência S.A. (Brazil), Shanghai Fujia Fine Chemicals Co. Ltd. (China), Shanghai Lianheng Isocytane Company Limited. (China), Stachema CZ s.r.o. (Czech Republic), DuPont Nutrition Biosciences ApS (Denmark), Showa Denko K. K.(Japan), Ube Industries, Ltd. (Japan), SABIC (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Dow Italia (Italy), Isagro S.p.A. (Italy), PT. Nippon Shokubai (Indonesia), Monsanto (M) Sdn.Bhd. (Malaysia), Zakłady Azotowe Puławy PLC-Grupa Azoty (Poland), Qatar Petrochemical Company (Qatar), Ercros S.A. (Spain), Camso Loadstar (Pvt) Ltd. (Sri Lanka), and Infrapark Baselland AG (Switzerland).
The Associate Programme was launched in 2000 to promote a culture of safety and best practice in chemical industries in OPCW Member States, and has so far benefited 487 professionals originating from 121 countries.
The Associate Programme’s Alumni Association serves as a networking platform for exchanging practices, scientific information, and professional experiences. The positive impact of the programme has been amplified by the outreach activities undertaken by alumni worldwide, during which they disseminate the knowledge and expertise gained during the OPCW training.
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 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.