THE HAGUE, Netherlands–27 August 2021–Analytical chemists from countries with developing and transition economies advanced their skills in quantitative analysis of chemicals relevant to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) during an online course held from 23 to 27 August. The training was conducted by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (VERIFIN).
The Director of VERIFIN, Professor Paula Vanninen, highlighted in her opening remarks the importance of capacity building for the Institute’s mission: “By the end of 2020, VERIFIN had trained 1619 individuals from 140 countries during courses supported mainly by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the OPCW. Our aim is to help to improve the capacity of laboratories, their technical capability, and their understanding of the chemistry of chemical weapons. Training activities relevant to the CWC contribute to disarmament, conflict prevention, and development cooperation. The skills acquired during the courses can also be used in other fields of analytical chemistry and enhance the peaceful uses of chemistry.”
Dr Rohan Perera, from OPCW’s International Cooperation Branch, stated: “The theoretical and practical skills and techniques obtained during this training will allow the participants to play key roles in developing national and international capacities in chemical analysis and facilitate the adoption of good laboratory practices.”
The course focused on Laboratory Quality Management (LQM) and the use of Liquid Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (LCMS) in chemical analysis. Aspects of sample preparation, quantification, compound identification, and laboratory quality management based on ISO 17025 standard were also covered. The attendees were briefed on the OPCW’s activities in this area and the CWC’s verification provisions.
This session will be followed by a practical exercise held at VERIFIN premises in 2022.
Attendees included nine representatives of industry, academia, and government laboratories from eight OPCW Member States: Cameroon, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, 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 has been the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapon 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.