OPCW assists Russian speaking Member States in strengthening protection against chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals

New online training programme enables Russian speaking First Responders from Eastern Europe and Asia to increase chemical safety and security

22 November 2021

THE HAGUE, Netherlands22 November 2021The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) continues to build the capacity of Russian speaking First Responders with the new modular online training programme: “Protection Against Chemical Weapon Agents and Toxic Industrial Chemicals.” The third specialised training module – “Chemical Emergency Response: Zoning and Safety Checkpoints, Reconnaissance and Sampling” – was held online between 17 July and 19 November.

The Acting Head of OPCW’s Assistance and Protection Branch underlined: “Following the training held in August, the participants continue to strengthen their skills and gain the knowledge necessary for responding to accidents and incidents involving chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals.”

Supported by a team of international instructors, the attendees developed their knowledge of reconnaissance and rescue operations in a chemical contamination zone, timely detection of hazardous chemicals in the air, water and soil, as well as the main chemical contamination neutralisation methods and sampling procedures in a highly contaminated area.

The training, conducted in cooperation with the International Rescuers Training Centre (IRT Centre) based in Belarus, supports the implementation of Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons, and is being consistently offered to Member States, despite COVID-19 constraints.

The new online training programme is a complementary learning tool supporting an eventual return to in-person training. The digital offering includes one basic and several specialised modules, to be studied over six months, designed to strengthen national preparedness to respond to accidents and incidents involving chemical weapons or toxic industrial chemicals. The tool builds a sustainable set of theoretical knowledge and practical skills to help ensure First Responders provide a timely, effective, and safe response to such accidents and incidents.

The training was attended by 59 professionals from eight OPCW Member States: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, and Ukraine.

Background

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.

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