THE HAGUE, Netherlands—13 May 2022— Experts and professionals from Africa improved their skills and knowledge in the field of chemical safety and security during a seminar organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and held in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 10 to 12 May 2022.
The seminar aimed to raise awareness of the importance of chemical safety and security policy and guidelines to prevent chemical accidents and the potential misuse of toxic chemicals.
Participants were briefed on a variety of safety and security management topics relevant to chemical industries across the continent. They discussed a range of issues including industry outreach and quantitative chemical safety and security risk assessments for accident prevention. Preparedness and scenario-based strategies to identify safety and security gaps in existing national frameworks were also discussed. Additionally, the course covered developing layers of protection to mitigate chemical threats.
For practical exposure to chemical safety and security management protocols, participants visited a chemical industry plant in the Msasa area of Harare. The plant produces phosphatic fertilizers using phosphate rock supplied from the Dorowa mine. As this fertilizer production process uses scheduled chemicals t, the facility has implemented strict chemical safety and security protocols which provided an excellent hands-on experience for participants.
Participants underlined the importance of exchanging best practices and promoting education and outreach to build sound practices for chemical safety and security worldwide.
The seminar was attended by 40 participants representing 14 OPCW Member States: Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The OPCW Chemical Safety and Security Programme was launched in 2009 and has since become a leading forum for the exchange and development of expertise in chemical management.
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 99% 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.