THE HAGUE, Netherlands–20 November 2020–Government and chemical industry representatives from 19 states in Asia discussed strengthening their domestic legislative and regulatory measures on chemical security during an online course from 13 to 20 November. The training, led by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), was designed to assist national experts in a review of existing national legal frameworks and develop a strategy for improving them.
OPCW’s Head of the Implementation Support Branch, Ms Beatrix Lahoupe, remarked that Member States showed great interest in the legislative and regulatory aspects of chemical security, which “testifies to the growing global significance of this issue”. She added: “The OPCW is broadening its capacity building portfolio to meet increased demand. In particular, we will continue cooperation with other organisations to develop capacity in national regulatory authorities.”
Participants analysed existing international legal frameworks on chemical security, in particular the OPCW’s mandate in that area. They also learned about the Organisation’s programmes for Member States interested in enhancing their legal regimes in chemical security. Attendees noted the necessity for strong domestic legislation to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention and stressed that such legislation should include provisions prohibiting and penalising illicit activities involving chemical weapons, as well as control mechanisms for scheduled chemicals and related facilities. Chemical industry experts from the American Chemistry Council, International Chemical Trade Association, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and INTERPOL shared their knowledge and presented initiatives to enhance national legal frameworks on chemical security.
Forty-nine course participants represented the following 19 OPCW Member States: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bhutan, Cambodia, Iraq, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the State of Palestine, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.
The OPCW’s Implementation Support Branch (IPB) assists OPCW Member States’ efforts to fully implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, including through the development and adoption of implementing legislation. IPB’s activities include awareness raising and capacity building activities, such as the internship programme for legal drafters and National Authority representatives.
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 declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.