THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 5 August 2020 — Thirty-two representatives from twenty-one Member States from the African region met online on 4 August for the Eighteenth Regional Meeting of National Authorities organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The meeting focused on regional priorities, including reviewing the implementation of the OPCW Africa Programme, the OPCW’s integrated approach to capacity building.
The OPCW’s Director of the International Cooperation and Assistance Division, Ms Kayoko Gotoh, highlighted: “Since 2007, the OPCW’s Africa Programme has played an important role in helping African Member States implement the Convention and pursue their goal of sustainable development and a peaceful and secure Africa. The Technical Secretariat of the OPCW is committed to further building the capacity of African Member States to implement the Convention effectively. We have a broad range of projects and initiatives for the region, including those now being delivered online by OPCW experts.”
Representatives of National Authorities were briefed on the implementation of the fifth phase of the OPCW Africa Programme, which focuses on the particular needs of African Member States, including the promotion of peaceful uses of chemistry for a developed, safe and secure Africa. Participants were updated on how Member States have adopted the Convention at a national level, in addition to receiving guidance on giving legal effect to the amendment to the CWC’s Annex on Chemicals. Experts from the Technical Secretariat dedicated the final session of the meeting to answering questions from participants.
Representatives of the following Member States participated: Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The online regional meeting was the fourth of its kind, following the Regional Meetings of National Authorities from Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean held in July.
Regional meetings of National Authorities of States Parties provide a forum in which the States Parties of the region can address various national implementation issues, including capacity building programmes and other activities organised by the Technical Secretariat. National Authorities can also share good practices and discuss the challenges in acting as focal points for effective liaison with the OPCW.
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 Programme is based on triennial planning, and has successfully completed four phases since its inception in 2007. A fifth phase was launched in January 2020 and covers the period 2020-2022. The design of the fifth phase was done on the basis of a need assessment followed by wide and inclusive consultations with the African States Parties.
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 98% 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.