THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 28 October 2019 – Experts shared best practices on the implementation of chemical safety and security management in the Eastern Europe Region during an Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) seminar held in Belgrade, Serbia from 21 to 23 October 2019.
The OPCW Chemical Safety and Security Management Programme brought together experts from government agencies, chemical industries, academia, and laboratories, and served as a platform for the exchange of experiences on national frameworks for chemical safety and security management.
The seminar included presentations from the International Council of Chemical Association (ICCA) and the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board. Participants also visited HIP Petrohemija ad Pančevo, a synthetic rubber plant, to learn best practices on safety and security management of chemicals.
Head of OPCW’s International Cooperation Branch, Mr Li Zhao, emphasised the domestic challenges that come with developments in chemistry, technology and manufacturing: “We believe that developing and expanding the OPCW’s Article XI-related programme within the context of chemical safety and security management will contribute not only to world peace but also technological and economic development through the peaceful uses of chemistry.”
During the seminar, participants discussed the trends and challenges in the implementation of the Convention, national policy frameworks on chemical management, chemical safety and security management strategies, trade of chemicals under international control, chemical security threats and mitigation approaches, and management in chemical lifecycles.
Assistant Minister of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia, Mr Aleksandar Vesić, underlined the importance of supporting legal and institutional frameworks for sound management of chemicals, such as regulations on the prevention of major chemical accidents which have been in place in Serbia since 2009. He stated: “The Republic of Serbia has ratified all global conventions relevant for sound chemical and waste management. We are committed to international and regional cooperation for the sound management of chemicals and are committed to take part in the respective international processes.”
The seminar was jointly organised by the OPCW and the Government of Serbia, and was attended by 40 experts from Albania, Armenia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Georgia, Germany, Italy, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine.
The Chemical Safety and Security Management Programme is part of OPCW activities to implement the Components of an Agreed Framework for the Full Implementation of Article XI, established by a decision of the Conference of States Parties in 2011 (C-16/DEC.10 dated 1 December 2011).
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 193 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
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.