THE HAGUE, Netherlands —9 June 2022— Periodic assessment of the performance of capacity development support is key to tracking progress in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC, the Convention). The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) organised an online meeting of National Authorities of States Parties in Africa from 31 May to 2 June to review the progress that the fifth phase of the OPCW Africa Programme has made over the last year.
The meeting included presentations from the Technical Secretariat (TS) and National Authorities, followed by in-depth discussions. Opening the Regional meeting, Mr Li Zhao, Acting Director of OPCW International Cooperation and Assistance, emphasised: “Taking stock of activities implemented, lessons learned, and challenges faced will improve our understanding on matters critical to the effective implementation of the Convention and the support provided by the Secretariat. Reflecting jointly on national and regional progress s help us understand what has worked, what needs improvement, and how to further strengthen the delivery tangible results in support of the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
The Regional Meeting of National Authorities provided national delegates with an opportunity to exchange information on matters affecting the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in Africa. Specifically, OPCW experts updated meeting participants on progress in Article VII implementation as well as on Article VI (Activities Not Prohibited) declarations and related support, and on OPCW inspections. Participants also discussed the 5th Review Conference and geographic representation of Member States among Secretariat personnel. Meeting attendee, Mr Tendai Chilowa, representative of the National Authority of Zimbabwe, remarked: “This meeting is crucial, as it gives us the opportunity to reflect on activities conducted in the past year and plan for the year ahead. We also get the opportunity as a region to compare notes with other State Parties on the progress we have made in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention. The meeting is also a venue to interact with the staff the Technical Secretariat who head important interventions. The deliberations at the meeting show we continue to benefit from various capacity building programme conducted by the Technical Secretariat, particularly within the framework of the Africa Programme”
The meeting was attended by 27 participants from 16 African Member States: Algeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The Programme to Strengthen Cooperation with Africa on the Chemical Weapons Convention — known as the Africa Programme — focuses on the needs of OPCW Member States on the continent, including the promotion of peaceful uses of chemistry for a developed, safe, and secure Africa.
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.