THE HAGUE, the Netherlands – 31 May 2019 – Representatives from East Africa states exchanged experiences and best practices in national implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) during a Stakeholders Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, from 21 – 23 May.
The meeting drew together National Authorities and key stakeholders in the region to discuss progress related to adoption of legislation, industry verification measures, peaceful uses of chemistry, the preparedness of first responders to chemical attacks. Participants also shared their views on opportunities for bilateral and regional cooperation within East Africa.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Secretary of Internal Security at the State Department of Interior of Kenya, Mr Eddyson H. Nyale, emphasised that “the involvement of key stakeholders is crucial for National Authorities to successfully implement the various aspects of the Convention”. He noted the increase in the use of toxic chemicals in industrial and agricultural sectors in the region, and the need to share ideas and good practices on safe use and transportation of such substances.
Senior Programme Officer from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Mr Pavlo Byalyk, reiterated the importance of effective cooperation between National Authorities and other CWC stakeholders such as chemical industry, customs authorities, laboratories, first responders, civil society and others. “Effective coordination between all relevant stakeholders and the National Authorities is key for advancing national implementation of the Convention”, he stressed.
During the Forum the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW outlined the benefits of using the CWC National Implementation Framework as a voluntary tool for conducting a comprehensive needs assessment and preparing a CWC national action plan.
The Forum was attended by representatives from Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as officials from East Africa Community headquarters, the Delegation of the European Union to Kenya, and United National Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute.
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.