Representatives of 13 Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from Asia shared good practices and discussed challenges in Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) related training for customs officers. The workshop, organised by the OPCW in cooperation with the World Customs Organisation (WCO), was held online on 21 September.
The Head of OPCW’s Implementation Support Branch, Ms Beatrix Lahoupe, remarked: “Customs administrations play a key role in the non-proliferation of chemical weapons. During the last decade, the OPCW has organised multiple courses for customs officers to strengthen national capacities and ensure that all transfers of scheduled chemicals and their precursors are accounted for. We strongly encourage Member States to continue training their national customs staff on CWC issues relevant to their work.”
The Director General of Bangladesh Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate, Dr Md. Abdur Rouf, noted: “We greatly appreciate the assistance and guidance provided by the OPCW. In order to ensure the sustainability of OPCW support, the Bangladesh Training Academy is strongly committed to strengthening the capacities of our own customs officers on CWC-related issues. Following our participation in the 2016 OPCW train-the-trainer course for customs, we have trained more than 2,000 national customs officers on the CWC transfers regime of scheduled chemicals and practical aspects of controlling chemical trade.”
During the workshop, representatives of customs institutions and National Authorities reviewed the best approaches to training customs officers on CWC issues, shared information on training materials and presented next steps in organising national training for customs. Experts from the OPCW and the WCO provided an overview of tools and materials to facilitate and support customs training and clarified issues raised by the participants.
The workshop was attended by 33 representatives from 13 Member States: Bangladesh, India, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the State of Palestine, and Vietnam.
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 98% 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.