THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 27 May 2019 — The Assistance and Protection Training Cycle for Portuguese speaking countries completed its second phase in Lisbon, Portugal, between 20-24 May, expanding the capability of the engaged Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to manage a chemical emergency within their borders.
Twenty-six participants from states whose official language is Portuguese attended the Advanced Course on Assistance and Protection at the Portuguese Air Force Survival Training Centre. This training follows the initial Basic Course conducted in Brazil late last year, and will be followed by the Exercise Course planned for in the same country next year, which will conclude the cycle.
Furthering the ideas covered in the Basic Course from the personal level to the unit level, the Advanced Course revisited concepts related to use of protective equipment, effects and characteristics of chemical warfare agents, hazard prediction, detection and monitoring, sampling, contingency planning, and risk assessment.
Ambassador Mário Damas Nunes, President of the National Authority for Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in Portugal, noted the importance of the course as a mechanism for promoting practical tools to emergency management professionals from the participating countries. “These tools are of the utmost importance to all peace-loving countries,” noted Ambassador Nunes, “and most certainly to those that are part of the CWC.”
Participants from Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, and São Tomé e Principe attended the course.
Notably, this engagement marks Angola’s first full participation in the Advanced Course for Portuguese speaking countries since its accession to the CWC in October 2015.
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.
Ninety-seven percent 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.