Capacity Building
Laboratory Twinning Initiative

Supporting national analytical chemistry laboratories from Member States with developing or transitioning economies that are seeking to receive OPCW Designated Laboratory status.

This initiative twins aspiring laboratories with assisting laboratories in other Member States who have or formerly possessed the OPCW Designated Laboratory status and wish to share their capacity, knowledge, and experience.

Objectives

  • Improve the skills of laboratories in Member States related to the use of the methods for the analysis of compounds subject to the Convention.
  • Increase cooperation among laboratories specialised in the analysis of the chemicals related to the Convention.
  • Grow the family of OPCW Designated Laboratories—including laboratories from non-represented regions—to further increase the OPCW’s readiness to respond to the requirement of verification activities.

Upon the receipt of the expression of interest from the Member States wishing to receive or to offer assistance, the Secretariat draws up action plans for the twinning project to contain specific activities and related details (e.g., timeline, budget).

Only the assisted laboratories are eligible to receive the OPCW support. It is expected that the assisting laboratories will provide expertise and resources free of charge.

Secretariat Support

  • Grants for research projects can be facilitated if such projects contribute to the development of new methodologies at the assisted laboratory which are relevant to the Proficiency Tests and involve collaboration with the assisting laboratory.
  • Fellowships can be awarded to scientists and engineers from assisted laboratories to visit assisting laboratories. On-the-job training visits can have duration of a maximum of 6 months.
  • Equipment exchange programme provides for the possibility to cover the expenses of the transfer and installation of equipment in the case such is donated by the assisting laboratory to the assisted laboratory.

Refer to the dedicated programme description and related Secretariat notes for more information.

In addition assisted laboratories can receive support in the forms of:

  • Mentorship visits covering costs of visits of approximately one-week by an expert or a small group of experts from the assisting laboratory to the assisted laboratory. The purpose of the visits should be to mentor staff of the assisted laboratory on the implementation of specific techniques and protocols connected to the skills and capacities requested for a successful participation in the Proficiency Tests.
  • Support to infrastructures, whereby the Secretariat can support the participation of assisted laboratories in Proficiency Testing by covering related non-personnel costs.

 

Science

What is an OPCW Designated Laboratory?

An OPCW Designated Laboratory is a laboratory that has been accredited by the Organisation 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. 

Evaluation

What do Designated Laboratories need?

An established a quality system in accordance with the standards (ISO/IEC 17025:2005 or equivalent) and have valid accreditation by an internationally recognised accreditation body for the tasks for which it is seeking designation—namely, for the analysis of chemical-warfare agents and related compounds in various types of samples.

The laboratory must have performed successfully in OPCW’s Proficiency Testing Programme at least once per calendar year unless the additional guidelines in C-20/DEC.4 are applicable. 

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