THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 15 February 2019 — Chemical safety and security specialists from South Eastern Europe shared expertise and best practice at a workshop run by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC), held in Rakitje, Croatia, from 12-13 February 2019.
In his opening statement, Director of RACVIAC, Major General (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, stressed that “the purpose of this workshop is to discuss issues related to the Chemical Weapons Convention and to provide an overview of the Convention’s implementation procedures. This year, the focus is chemical safety and security management“. He underlined that “the Convention’s implementation is an issue of extraordinary importance because chemical safety and security are essential to preventing accidental or intentional misuse of highly toxic materials”.
OPCW’s Senior International Cooperation Officer, Mr Rohan Perera, stated in his opening speech that “chemical safety and security are important components of peaceful applications of chemistry” and therefore key in preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons.
During the workshop, the attendees shared professional knowledge and views on novel approaches in chemical safety and security. They discussed the development of domestic policy and legislation to improve chemical safety and security management, including chemical risk management.
Eighteen participants represented National Authorities, national defence ministries, industry associations, policy makers, and customs authorities. Six OPCW Member States from South Eastern Europe attended, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Romania.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, 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.