THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 20 September 2019 — Qualified analytical chemists acquire practical skills in the quantitative analysis of chemicals related to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) during an Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and Finnish Institute of Verification (VERIFIN) laboratory enhancement course in Helsinki, Finland, from 09 to 20 September 2019.
The course focused on providing training in analysis of chemicals related to the Convention through the use of Gas Chromatography (GC), Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GCMS), and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR).
During the programmes opening remarks, Director of VERIFIN, Professor Paula Vanninen, highlighted the ongoing relevance of these courses and their wide spread applications, stating that: “Training activities relevant to the CWC contribute to disarmament, conflict prevention, and development cooperation. The skills learned in these courses can also be utilized in other fields of analytical chemistry and thereby enhance the peaceful use of chemistry”.
OPCW Senior Programme Officer, Mr Rohan Perera, reminded participants that the theoretical and practical skills and techniques learned in these trainings will enable them to play key roles in enhancing national and international capacities in chemical analysis and facilitate the adoption of good laboratory practices, at home and abroad.
The training included an overview of the OPCW, and the Convention and its verification provisions. Aspects of sample preparation, quantification, and compound identification using the OPCW Central Analytical Database (OCAD) were also covered.
This programme was co-funded by the Government of Finland and was attended by ten participants from: Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Botswana, Costa Rica, India, Mauritius, South Africa, and Uganda.
The OPCW’s analytical chemistry courses are designed for chemists from laboratories in Member States and aim to build domestic capacity and promote international cooperation in peaceful uses of chemistry.
At the end of 2018, VERIFIN had trained 1492 trainees from 138 countries, funded mainly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
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 97% 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.