THE HAGUE, Netherlands—8 June 2023—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Population Protection Institute of the Czech Republic co-organised an international training course for incidents commanders in Láznĕ Bohdaneč, Czech Republic, from 17 to 25 May. The aim of the course was to equip participants with the leadership capacities required to handle chemical emergencies and to increase the number of experts able to operate in a command role.
The training directly supports the implementation of Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which covers assistance and protection against chemical weapons.
During her opening remarks, the course commander of the Population Protection Institute, Lt. Col. Ladislava Navrátilová, stated: “Participants in this course will gain deeper insight into command and control of chemical incident response and will practice these skills in the field exercise.”
To encourage mutual learning and understanding of chemical emergency response commander, the training incorporated a variety of training techniques including presentations, demonstrations, and table-top exercises as well as on-site and field training exercises.
Participants tested each other and performed various command roles to learn strategies that could be later implemented in their respective countries as incident commanders.
The training was attended in person by 17 experts from 15 OPCW Member States from all five OPCW regions: Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Burundi, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines, Romania, and Spain.
This course was conducted under Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention, under which 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.”
The Population Protection Institute (PPI) of the Czech Republic received the 2022 OPCW-The Hague Award for its extensive assistance and protection training activities for first responders from Eastern European and African OPCW Member States. The PPI has trained more than 600 experts in preparedness for incidents involving toxic chemicals.
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.