THE HAGUE, Netherlands–27 November 2020–First responders from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) Member States in Eastern Europe and Asia participated in a Russian language version of the basic online training on protection against chemical weapons. The course was conducted by the OPCW in partnership with the International Rescue Training Centre in Svetlaya Roshcha, Belarus, from 23 to 27 November.
Opening the event, OPCW’s Special Advisor on Assistance and Protection, Mr Shawn DeCaluwe, reaffirmed the Organisation’s commitment to assisting Member States to protect their populations against chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. He stressed: “We look forward to finding the right balance between online education methods and the practical training necessary to build up preparedness and first response capacities.”
The course covered conceptual and practical aspects of protection against chemical weapons, giving the participants the skills to respond to incidents involving chemical warfare agents or toxic industrial chemicals. Attendees learned how to design and implement appropriate responses for protection, detection, and rescue and decontamination operations in contaminated areas. They were also briefed about technical support available from the OPCW.
This training marked eight years of cooperation between the OPCW and Belarus in the area of capacity building on chemical emergency response under Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Thirty-seven experts from the following seven OPCW Member States participated in the course: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, and Tajikistan.
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.