THE HAGUE, Netherlands—30 March 2023—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Ecuadorian National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention jointly organised a regional basic training course in Guayaquil, Ecuador from 20 to 24 March 2023.
The training was supported by Ecuador’s Ministry of National Defense, the Meritorious Fire Department of Guayaquil and the Fire Department of the Metropolitan District of Quito. International experts from Argentina and Spain supported the course through the OPCW’s Instructor Development and Exchange Programme.
The opening ceremony of the course was attended by Brigadier General, Mr Amílcar Homero Alvear Landeta, Lieutenant Colonel of the Meritorious Fire Department of Guayaquil, Mr Leopoldo Terán, and the President of the Technical Team of the Ecuador’s National Authority for the Prohibition of Chemical and Biological Weapons, Major Edmundo Mora.
In his opening remarks, Major Mora highlighted the efforts and cooperation of Ecuador’s different institutions in the development of all activities related to the Chemical Weapons Convention’s implementation, including the assistance and protection course.
The Senior Programme Officer of the OPCW’s Assistance and Protection Branch of the International Cooperation and Assistance Division thanked Ecuador for its valuable contribution to the Organisation’s regional assistance and protection capacity building activities that made the eleventh edition of the regional training cycle for the Latin America and the Caribbean region (GRULAC) possible.
The course was the second component of the 2023 regional training cycle after the online foundation course from 9 January to 12 February 2023. The main theoretical concepts were covered during the previous foundation course, and the basic training course focused on developing skills in personal protective equipment, decontamination, rescue, and triage of victims affected by chemical warfare agents or toxic industrial chemicals.
All theoretical and practical sessions were carried out at the Guayaquil Fire School Coronel Gabriel Gómez Sánchez. The course ended with an exercise at the QC Terminales facilities in the Guayaquil port area, where participants had the chance to merge all skills gathered during the week, and practise triage, rescue, and victim decontamination.
Thirty international and local participants from 12 OPCW Member States attended the course: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay. The training cycle will continue with a third online segment on chemical emergency management tools to reinforce participant knowledge in this field, followed by an advanced course and exercise in Argentina.
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.