THE HAGUE, Netherlands—24 August 2022—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain, and Uruguay co-facilitated a three-month virtual training for first responders from Latin America and the Caribbean. The course focused on emergency response to chemical warfare agents and toxic chemicals and was held online in Spanish from 2 May to 29 July 2022.
The training covered the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the properties of chemical weapons and industrial chemicals. Participants received comprehensive lectures on personal protection, sampling, detection and identification, decontamination, and emergency management tools, as well as pre-hospital medical care and hospital management.
Experts from the OPCW delivered the training alongside instructors from the Special Risk Brigade of the Argentinian Federal Police, Brazilian Air Force, National Fire Department of Colombia, National Police of Colombia, Fire and Rescue Service of Costa Rica, University of Costa Rica, Fire and Rescue Service of Quito (Ecuador), Centre for Chemical Information of Peru (CINQUI), Fire and Rescue Service of Murcia (Spain), Gómez Ulla Military Hospital (Spain), and National Army of Uruguay.
The training was attended by 95 military and civilian personnel from chemical response backgrounds such as civil defence, hazmat-equipped firefighters, and CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) specialists from 13 OPCW Member States: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Spain.
Under Article X of the CWC, Member States “have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, material and scientific and technological information concerning means of protection 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.
- Article X of the CWC – Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons
- Ensuring Preparedness
- Capacity Building: Instructor Development and Exchange Programme
- Photos from the event
- OPCW Basics: How does the OPCW help prepare for and respond to a chemical attack?
- National Police of Colombia
- University of Costa Rica
- Federal Police of Argentina
- Brazilian Air Force