THE HAGUE, Netherlands–17 December 2021–The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) completed the first implementation cycle of its new modular online training programme for Russian speaking first responders titled “Protection against chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals.”
Designed to complement in-person trainings, this virtual programme includes one basic and four specialised modules that strengthen national preparedness to respond to accidents and incidents involving chemical weapons agents (CWAs) and toxic industrial chemicals (TICs). During the 12-month programme, first responders gained both theoretical knowledge and practical skills that will help ensure a timely, effective, and safe response to chemical accidents and incidents.
The head of OPCW Assistance and Protection underlined: “Using e-learning in a systemic manner has enabled the OPCW to offer a continuous learning period, which has proven to be an efficient way to help participants prepare for in-person capacity building trainings. The 2021 Russian speaking graduates have advanced knowledge of CWAs and TICs, as well as the technical support and algorithms necessary for responding to accidents and incidents involving these substances. First responders also enhanced their skills to use specialised equipment and perform response actions in chemical pollution zones.”
The final specialised training module focused on decontamination of personnel and victim assistance, and was held from 15 to 17 December for professionals from Eastern Europe and Asia. Supported by a team of international instructors from Belarus, participants learned about principles and methods of decontamination, as well as relevant procedures, safety requirements and equipment when responding to accidents and incidents involving CWA and TICs.
The training, conducted in cooperation with the International Rescuers Training Centre (IRT Centre) based in Belarus, supports the implementation of Article X (Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons) of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The 2021 programme was attended by 59 professionals from seven OPCW Member States: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, and Ukraine.
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.