The Hague, The Netherlands–25 March 2021–The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) facilitated capacity building courses for laboratories from Member States in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) that aspire to attain OPCW Designated Laboratory status. The training for laboratories in Africa was conducted by the Finnish Institute of Verification (VERIFIN) from 15 to 19 March, while the GRULAC course was delivered by the Spanish National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) from 11 to 18 and from 22 to 25 March.
Mr Sergey Zinoviev, a Senior Programme Officer from OPCW’s International Cooperation Branch, stated: “The labs’ interest in building analytical capacity indicates that both they, and the Member States they represent, attach great importance to the full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The OPCW will continue assisting the GRULAC and African laboratories that aim to build capacity and join the OPCW designated laboratory network.”
The courses focused on the advanced strategies and procedures required to pass OPCW Designated Laboratory Proficiency Tests – the primary requirement for the laboratories to obtain and maintain OPCW designation.
Participants included 29 analytical chemists (12 from GRULAC and 17 from Africa) who represented the following four OPCW Member States: Brazil, Chile, Kenya, and Nigeria.
The courses were part of the project ‘Assessing and Enhancing the Capacity of Analytical Laboratories from African and GRULAC Member States to Achieve OPCW Designation’ funded from the voluntary contribution of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The project began in 2019 and is now in its second phase.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Designated Laboratories are a linchpin of the Organisation’s verification regime and its capacity to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons.
OPCW Designated Laboratories must be able to perform off-site analysis of chemical samples collected by OPCW inspectors from chemical production facilities, storage depots and other installations, or from the site of an alleged use of chemical weapons.
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.