THE HAGUE, Netherlands—12 May 2023—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has successfully concluded the fourth phase of the project Assessing and enhancing the capacity of analytical laboratories from African and Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) Member States: towards OPCW designation funded under a voluntary contribution from the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland (UK).
The project started in 2019 and its current edition has been providing tailor-made assistance to six laboratories in Brazil, Chile, Kenya and Nigeria to further improve their capacity in the analysis of Convention-related chemicals through specialised trainings and exercises. In the current project phase, the OPCW Technical Secretariat, in cooperation with OPCW designated laboratories in Finland and Spain, has delivered exercises simulating OPCW proficiency tests as well as training courses in Finland and Spain.
Since the end of the project’s third phase in March 2022, five out of the six participating laboratories have taken part in the OPCW Proficiency Test and the Convention Chemical Analysis Competency Test (CCACT) and have demonstrated an improved performance.
All participating laboratories have engaged with the Technical Secretariat and OPCW designated laboratories to discuss their performance and evaluate their capacity needs through bilateral seminars, individual evaluation visits and a final workshop held in March this year. During the workshop, the laboratories expressed their interest in refining their skills in some specific methods and procedures related to chemical analysis, while reaffirming their intention to further develop their know-how to receive designation from the OPCW.
Africa is now the only region without an OPCW designated laboratory. The Organisation and its Member States continue their efforts to fill this gap.
The OPCW Chemical Safety and Security Programme was launched in 2009 and has since become a leading forum for the exchange and development of expertise in chemical management.
The OPCW designated laboratories are a linchpin of the Organisation’s verification regime and its capacity to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons.
OPCW Designated Laboratories must be able to perform off-site analysis of chemical samples collected by OPCW inspectors from chemical production facilities, storage depots and other installations, or from the site of an alleged use of chemical weapons.
These laboratories offer the necessary assurance to our States Parties that chemical analyses needed to make determinations or to clarify issues occurring during OPCW deployments are carried out competently, impartially, and with unambiguous results.
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.