THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 3 February 2020 – Representatives of National Authorities from sixteen States Parties came together to discuss lessons learned from their experience of participating in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) Mentorship/Partnership Programme during a workshop held at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, from 30-31 January 2020.
The programme facilitates visits among National Authorities that are at different stages of national implementation of their obligations under the provisions of Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
In her opening remarks, OPCW’s Director of International Cooperation and Assistance, Ms Kayoko Gotoh, emphasised the importance of mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation among OPCW Member States. She noted that “a strong National Authority is not only one that has CWC implementing legislation and coordinates its national stakeholders, but is also one that is able to cooperate effectively with its counterparts in other countries to share experiences, best practices, and common challenges in implementing the Convention”.
The Lessons Learned Workshop on the Mentorship/Partnership Programme was organised in line with the Technical Secretariat’s efforts to promote a stronger culture of results- and knowledge-based management across its capacity building activities. The workshop took stock and identified lessons learned as well as progress from eight years of implementation of the Programme, from its inception in 2012 until present day.
Thirty-two National Authorities that have participated in the Programme so far formed nineteen bilateral partnerships that facilitated intra-regional and cross-regional cooperation. This is an example of the unique cooperation among States Parties, where those with advanced knowledge and experience are paired with others that wish to further enhance their capacities for effective CWC implementation.
Workshop participants presented activities implemented within the programme framework and concrete results achieved. They also identified best practices in bilateral cooperation and provided their recommendations for further enhancing the impact of the programme. Key workshop findings will be disseminated to all National Authorities and for further consideration by the Technical Secretariat.
The workshop was attended by representatives from Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, France, The Gambia, Guatemala, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo, and the United Kingdom.
The National Authority Mentorship/Partnership Programme facilitates visits between National Authorities that are at different stages of national implementation. Each Mentor and Partner relationship is designed to help participating States Parties reach its goals and obligations in regards to national implementing legislation, chemical safety and security, economic and technological development, assistance and protection, the verification regime, inspections, and/or education and outreach.
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.