THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 7 June 2019 — Chemical emergency response trainers developed skills to train other responders handling incidents involving chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals, during the 5th international course on Assistance and Protection for instructors held in Láznĕ Bohdaneč, the Czech Republic, from 28 May – 6 June.
The training, co-organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Population Protection Institute of the Czech Republic, supported the implementation of Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) which concerns the assistance and protection against chemical weapons.
Underlining the importance of the event, OPCW’s Senior Program Officer, Mr Shahriar Khateri, noted that: “The training-of-trainers ensures sustainable and efficient use of OPCW resources for capacity building. This course will help build a large base of first responders in the field of assistance and protection against incidents involving chemical warfare agents or toxic industrial chemicals.”
To encourage mutual learning and understanding of chemical emergency response, participants tested each other and performed various command roles to learn strategies they could later implement in their respective countries as future instructors.
Nineteen attendees represented the following 17 OPCW Member States: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Costa Rica, India, Kenya, Luxemburg, Morocco, Paraguay, Philippines, Romania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, and Uruguay.
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.