THE HAGUE, Netherlands–2 July 2021–Experts from African Member States expanded their knowledge of national chemical management strategies during today’s advanced online training led by specialists from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The knowledge will assist governments in creating national action plans on chemical safety and security management.
During the opening session, OPCW’s Senior Programme Officer from the International Cooperation Branch, Dr Rohan Perera, noted: “Safety and security management throughout the life cycle of chemical products is of growing importance. It is therefore essential for governments to have a national action plan with inputs from all relevant stakeholders. Despite the current health crisis, the OPCW continues to fulfil its commitment to working closely with its Member States and building capacity to reduce safety incidents and increase security.”
The participants reviewed the resources, tools, and skills needed to effectively promote chemical safety and security standards. They learned about supply chain safety and security strategies designed to prevent the misuse of highly toxic chemicals and to minimise internal and external threats. The workshop also included a table-top exercise based around the scenario of a chemical accident at a storage site.
Participants included 29 representatives of chemical industry and industry associations, National Authorities, government departments, and academia from the following 12 OPCW Member States: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
This event is part of the fifth phase (2020-2022) of the Africa Programme that focuses on enhancing African Member States’ capacities in chemical safety and security management and promoting peaceful uses of chemistry for sustainable development.
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.