THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 11 September 2020 — Analytical chemists enhanced their skills during the first online training course on the quantitative analysis of chemicals related to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The course, jointly organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Finnish Institute of Verification (VERIFIN), took place between 7 and 11 September 2020. It focussed on chemical analysis exercises relevant to the CWC, particularly the use of Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LCMS), and Laboratory Quality Management (LQM).
The Director of VERIFIN, Professor Paula Vanninen, remarked: “Training activities relevant to the CWC contribute to disarmament, conflict prevention, and development cooperation. The skills learned in these courses can also be used in other fields of analytical chemistry and thereby enhance the peaceful use of chemistry.”
The OPCW’s Director of the International Cooperation and Assistance Division, Ms Kayoko Gotoh, added: “Theoretical and practical skills developed here will enable participants to play a key role in enhancing national and international capacity in chemical analysis and facilitate the adoption of good laboratory practices.”
The course included an overview of the OPCW and the CWC, including its verification provisions. It also covered sample preparation, quantification, compound identification and laboratory quality management based on ISO 17025.
This programme was attended by seven participants from seven Member States: Bangladesh, Morocco, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia, Sri Lanka, and Uganda. An in-person practical session is planned for 2021 at VERIFIN’s premises in Helsinki.
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.