THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 12 September 2023 — Twenty first responders advanced their skills in managing chemical emergencies during the Integrated Advanced Course and Exercise for States Parties from Latin America and the Caribbean co-organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Argentina’s National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Special Risk Brigade of Argentina’s Federal Police. The course was held from 14 to 19 August 2023 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Claudio Rozencwaig, Undersecretary for Foreign Policy of Argentina, and Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen, Executive Secretary of Argentina’s National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention, attended the opening ceremony of the course. In his remarks, Mr Rozencwaig highlighted the importance of developing and promoting prevention and response capabilities at a local and regional level, as well as underlined the significant role close cooperation and joint training programmes and exercises play in ensuring chemical emergency preparedness.
The training was conducted at the School of Cadets of Argentina’s Federal Police. The participants exercised multiple scenarios related to managing a chemical emergency, including an exercise in the air force base “El Palomar”. The course ended with a final exercise, during which participants tested their new skills acquired during the training cycle.
Participants represented 12 OPCW Member States: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay.
This OPCW regional training cycle on assistance and protection is organised for Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean each year. It provides training for participants in assistance and protection with a focus on responding to incidents involving chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals.
The Special Risks Brigade of the Federal Police of Argentina is one of the 2022 OPCW-The Hague Award recipients.
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.
All declared chemical weapons stockpiles were destroyed under OPCW verification. The United States was the last possessor State and completed the destruction of its declared chemical weapons stockpile on 7 July 2023. The OPCW observed the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpiles declared by all State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention and confirmed on 7 July 2023 that all declared chemical weapons stockpiles were verified as irreversibly destroyed.
For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.