THE HAGUE, Netherlands—17 September 2022—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (VERIFIN) delivered two training courses for analytical chemists from countries with economies that are developing or in transition in Helsinki, Finland from 5 to 16 September 2022.
The two parallel courses aimed to enhance laboratory management and contribute to advancing national chemical analysis capacities. In one course, participants improved their practical skills in the analysis of chemicals related to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) using a technique called liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS). The other course focussed on laboratory management practices in relation to achieving an ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation, a qualification that demonstrates competency in laboratory operations and the generation of valid results.
During her opening remarks, Dr Hanna Hakulinen, the Research Director of VERIFIN, stated that: “These training courses serve as a strong part of VERIFIN’s mission, as they increase technical capabilities of laboratories, promote understanding of chemicals related to the Convention, strengthen international collaboration and most importantly, contribute towards peaceful uses of chemistry.”
The dual courses were co-funded by the Government of Finland and were attended by 12 participants from 10 OPCW Member States: Bangladesh, Cameroon, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.
VERIFIN is an institute in the Department of Chemistry under the Faculty of Science in the University of Helsinki. VERIFIN was established in 1994. Operations of VERIFIN are mainly funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. VERIFIN supports the disarmament of chemical weapons by development of identification methods for chemical warfare agents (CWA).
In 2014, VERIFIN won the OPCW-The Hague Award for its significant contributions to chemical disarmament through the development analytical chemistry based tools for verification of the CWC and for training over 1000 chemists from more than 130 countries in skills related to enhancing national implementation of the CWC.
Article XI of the CWC, Economic and Technological Development, provides international cooperation for the economic and technological development of States Parties.
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.