THE HAGUE, Netherlands—2 June 2022—Disaster management experts expanded their emergency response management skills during a Regional Table-Top Exercise on Chemical Emergency Response (TTX-22) for countries that are members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from 24 to 26 May 2022.
The training was co-organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), in conjunction with the Government of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, and financially supported by the European Union.
The exercise dealt with responding to major chemical incidents and putting into place effective response and assistance procedures. Areas addressed included operational frameworks, policymaking, inter-agency cooperation, consequence management, and communication.
During the exercise, participants also had the opportunity to exchange information and foster networks to increase cooperation.
In her opening remarks, the Côte d’Ivoire Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, African Integration and the Diaspora, Ms Kandia Kamissoko Camara, stated: “It is imperative for our countries to develop and adopt prevention and response strategies adapted to the scale of the threat from a multilateral perspective under the aegis of the OPCW, which I would like to thank very much for all the work it is doing. Indeed, through its mission of strengthening the capacities of Member States to protect themselves against the use of chemical weapons, this international organisation response to a vital need in building a strong defence apparatus and protecting our civilian populations.”
The Programme Officer from OPCW’s Assistance and Protection Branch coordinating the course stated: “I thank Côte d’Ivoire for its sustained commitment to the implementation of the Convention and commend the Côte d’Ivoire National Authority for its substantial progress on chemical response preparedness.”
The training was attended in person by 40 representatives from 12 OPCW Member States in ECOWAS: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
Since 2007, the OPCW’s International Cooperation and Assistance Division (ICA) has managed the Programme to Strengthen Cooperation with Africa on the Chemical Weapons Convention — more commonly known as the Africa Programme. Now in its fifth phase, Africa Programme assists participating Member States in achieving defined goals and proffering sustainable development for a peaceful and secure Africa.
The Assistance and Protection Branch contributes to the efforts of Africa Programme with targeted projects falling under the ambit of Article X, which includes assisting States Parties in strengthening national programmes for the development and improvement of a protective capacity against chemical weapons.
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.
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