THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 15 October 2019 – Experts from 13 African countries upgraded their skills in sampling and analysis in a highly contaminated environment, during a specialist training programme in Algiers, Algeria, held from 6 to 9 October 2019.
The participants learned about the theory and practice of procedures for sampling and analysing toxic chemicals, as well as evidence collection and chain of custody techniques.
In his opening remarks, Major General Ghriss Abdelhamid, Secretary General of the Ministry of National Defence, underlined Algeria’s commitment to cooperate with the OPCW in supporting the States Parties in the region to develop technical and operational capabilities in the field of protection and assistance to deal with incidents involving chemical weapons and other toxic chemicals.
The course also included a field exercise on conducting reconnaissance, detection, sampling and decontamination operations.
The course was run jointly by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Algerian National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention with the support of the National Institute for Forensic Science and Criminology (INCC), National Gendarmerie, and the Ministry of National Defence of Algeria.
The 30 attendees of the course represented the following OPCW Member States: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cóte d’lvoire, Djibouti, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Togo and Tunisia.
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.