OPCW Africa Programme’s Steering Committee Holds Inaugural Meeting Online

26 June 2020
OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias and participants at Africa Programme’s Steering Committee Inaugural Meeting Online

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 26 June 2020 — The Steering Committee of the OPCW Programme to Strengthen Cooperation with Africa on the Chemical Weapons Convention, also known as the Africa Programme, held its inaugural meeting online today under the chairmanship of H.E. Ambassador Kamal Bashir Ahmed Mohamed Khair, Permanent Representative of the Sudan to the OPCW.

The Chairperson, H.E. Ambassador Khair, highlighted the Steering Committee’s purpose to “streamline the cooperation that so happily exists between the OPCW and the African continent”. He added that “the Secretariat’s efforts, under the leadership of the Director-General, to convene today’s inaugural meeting remotely, despite the current restrictions, are yet another illustration of its unwavering commitment towards the effective delivery and success of the Programme”.

The meeting allowed the OPCW Technical Secretariat to update the Committee on the implementation of the 5th phase of the Programme (2020-2022). In addition to ongoing capacity-building support, including via remote means, the Secretariat presented a series of project proposals for extra-budgetary funding. It also presented an analysis of the impact of capacity building activities for African participants in 2019.

The Permanent Representation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland delivered a presentation on its financial support for the Africa Programme, notably in the areas of assistance and protection against chemical weapons and the development of laboratory capabilities.

The Steering Committee commended the Secretariat for the progress made in the fifth phase of the Africa Programme despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. It also expressed its appreciation to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and other Member States for their generous support to Africa through this Programme.

This first meeting was attended by representatives of Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa and the Sudan. It was also joined by the following observers which currently contribute to the Programme: Czech Republic; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; United States of America; and the European Union. The next meeting is scheduled for November 2020.

Background

The Programme to Strengthen Cooperation with Africa on the Chemical Weapons Convention — more commonly known as the Africa Programme — focuses on the particular needs of African Member States, including the promotion of peaceful uses of chemistry for a developed, safe and secure Africa.

The Committee Membership for 2020 includes Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and the Sudan (Chair). Czech Republic, Germany, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and the European Union are included as observers.

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.

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