THE HAGUE, Netherlands—14 November 2022—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco held the second edition of the Education and Training Programme on Peaceful Uses of Chemistry for Youth in Kenitra, Morocco, from 31 October to 4 November 2022.
Aimed at young people from OPCW Member States with economies that are developing or transitioning, the event offered participants comprehensive briefings from an array of experts on the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), dual-use chemicals, chemical arms control, and the peaceful uses of chemistry. Additionally, the discussions picked up on broader themes such as non-proliferation, disarmament, and gender. OPCW representatives delivered briefings on Article XI of the CWC (Economic and Technological Development) while international experts provided a detailed overview and insights on the history of chemical weapons, building a chemical safety and security culture, and chemical ethics.
The training programme included career development elements for the youth participants in the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, and chemical disarmament. A field trip to an industry-leading petro-chemical plant provided a practical demonstration of chemical risk and incident management measures, while a visit to a civil protection site introduced participants to response preparedness. Both visits complemented the insights into mitigating the risks arising from the potential misuse of toxic chemicals . Furthermore, the training was a key opportunity for the students, researchers, and young professionals to network and build professional relationships for their future careers.
At the launch of the training, Mr Mustapha El Alami El Fellousse, Head of the Division for Global Security and Social Issues of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Morocco, in the presence of Mr. Mohammed Cherkaoui, Director of the National School of Chemistry and invited guests, thanked the OPCW for initiating the training and underscored the critical role of youth in implementing the Convention, and in preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons.
The training was attended by 17 participants from 10 OPCW Member States: Brazil, Guatemala, Kenya, Morocco, Mauritius, Nepal, Romania, Serbia, Togo, and Trinidad and Tobago. It was organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Morocco (the country’s National Authority), the Moroccan Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research, and Innovation, and the National School of Chemistry in Kenitra. The event was supported by the European Union.
Article XI of the CWC, Economic and Technological Development, provides international cooperation in the field of chemical activities 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.