National Authority and chemical industry representatives of Arabic speaking Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) increased their proficiency at preparing declarations and receiving OPCW inspections during an advanced training course held online from 13 to 30 September.
In her opening remarks, the Head of the OPCW’s Implementation Support Branch, Ms Beatrix Lahoupe, highlighted: “Chemical industry is one of the fastest growing industrial sectors in the world, with production and trade in chemicals increasing every year. This is particularly evident in the Middle East and North Africa, which boast a range of well-established and emerging chemical industries. As a result, comprehensive implementation of Article VI of the Chemical Weapons Convention, where Member States commit to data monitoring and on-site verification of scheduled chemicals, is gaining importance in many countries of that region. Strong national implementation capacities are a pre-condition for Member States’ compliance with their obligations under the Convention, particularly those relating to declarations and inspections.”
Mr Mohamed Wedou Lemghambodje of the National Authority of Mauritania stated: “This course has provided us with an excellent opportunity to enhance our knowledge and understanding of issues relating to the effective and timely submission of declarations as well as the role of the National Authority in receiving and escorting OPCW inspections. The live sessions with Technical Secretariat experts allowed us to clarify issues and discuss shared challenges relating to Article VI implementation.”
The course combined self-paced learning with interactive live sessions during which participants had an opportunity to discuss effective and timely implementation of Article VI obligations and to explore, in collaboration with the OPCW Technical Secretariat experts, common regional and subregional challenges and best practices.
Thirty participants from the following 10 Arabic speaking Member States completed the course: Bahrain, Iraq, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the State of Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.
As of September 2021, 85 OPCW Member States had submitted declarations for declarable facilities or activities for 2020, involving over 5,400 sites. Since its establishment, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has conducted more than 4,100 inspections of industrial sites to verify that the production and use of chemicals are intended solely for peaceful purposes.
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.