THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 24 September 2019 – OPCW Member States enhanced their capacity to train customs officers on the transfers regime of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) at a regional training-of-trainers course in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 17-20 September 2019.
The course, held in cooperation with the World Customs Organization (WCO), catered to the needs of customs training institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean that are expected to incorporate Convention modules into their curricula.
The President of the Uruguay CWC National Authority, Ms Noelia Martinez Franchi, underlined the vital role of international collaboration and expertly trained customs officials in ensuring the ban on chemical weapons, during her opening remarks.
She stated that: “Uruguay upholds its unwavering support to the efforts carried out by the OPCW, while underlining the importance of the work that has to be carried out by State Parties and the coordinated work between customs agencies.”
OPCW Senior Programme Officer, Mr Pavlo Byalyk, emphasised the importance of the course in contributing to the practical implementation of the Convention at a national level, stating: “To boost the capacities of States Parties, the Secretariat engages with national customs training institutions that regularly provide training on various professional issues.”
During the course, participants learned best practices in enforcing the control over the trade in chemicals; received training on the roles and responsibilities of National Authorities and Customs Officials under the provisions of the Convention; and developed skills in the identification of chemicals relevant to the Convention, including those in the WCO Harmonized System.
Other aspects of the course included practical exercises and a visit to the Chemical and Toxicological Laboratory of Uruguay to learn about the equipment it uses and challenges it faces.
By the end of the workshop, participants developed national action plans for introducing the Convention module into their training curricula or, where relevant, strengthening existing modules.
The course was attended by representatives from Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, 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.
Over 97% 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.