THE HAGUE, Netherlands–20 December 2021–The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) designed and conducted a new training course specifically for law enforcement officials as part of its on-going efforts to strengthen the chemical emergency response and management capacity of OPCW Member States. The course focussed on the deterrence and prevention of the use of chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals and was conducted in partnership with the OPCW National Authority for Italy from 6 to 17 December.
In his opening statement, the Head of the Italian National Authority for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), Valerio Negri, stressed: “Law enforcement officers are on the forefront when responding to chemical weapons and toxic industrial incidents. It is important to devote time and effort to trainings that address deterrence and prevention on the use of chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals for law enforcement.”
The OPCW Project Officer for this initiative underlined: “This session is the first part of a three-part training targeting law enforcement professionals. It offers a platform to discuss the deterrence and prevention of chemical weapons and the dual-use capabilities of toxic industrial chemicals. Boosting skills in this area helps shore up national assistance and protection capabilities and advances the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
Participants learned about the history of chemical weapons and the Convention, the fundamentals of chemical warfare agents, dual-use toxic industrial chemicals, deterrence, detection, scene risk assessment, methods of scientific analysis, and incident documentation. Approaches for sample collection, evaluation, reporting and chain-of-custody were also examined. Participants exchanged information related to incident response, as well as experiences in implementing Article X (Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons).
The workshop was attended by 27 professionals from 11 OPCW Member States: Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cabo Verde, Ghana, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, Romania, Senegal, Togo, and the United Republic of Tanzania.
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.