Chemical safety and security specialists from South Eastern Europe shared expertise and best practices at an online workshop today. The event was run by the Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC), based in Croatia, in collaboration with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The Director of RACVIAC, Major General (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, underlined in his opening statement: “Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention’s provisions on chemical safety and security is essential to preventing accidental or intentional misuse of highly toxic materials. This workshop aims to provide chemical safety and security professionals with a comprehensive picture of current challenges, with a particular focus on security audits of dual-use chemicals.”
OPCW’s Head of the International Cooperation Branch, Mr Li Zhao, stated: “The OPCW continues to promote chemical safety and security, important for the peaceful application of chemistry, among its Member States. Workshops like this are effective fora for exchanging best practices – which can lead to more effective regional networks, and concrete improvements to safety and security at the national level.”
During the workshop, representatives from National Authorities, defence ministries, industry associations and customs authorities shared knowledge and perspectives on innovative approaches to ensuring chemical safety and security. They also discussed the development of national action plans and frameworks to improve chemical safety and security management through scenario-based strategies.
The workshop was attended by 28 participants from the following nine OPCW Member States: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, with observers from Germany and Italy.
This was the 18th workshop on chemical safety and security organised by the OPCW in partnership with RACVIAC for Member States in South Eastern Europe.
Chemical safety and security management programmes under Article XI of the Chemical Weapons Convention provide guidance on analytic and systematic approaches to handling chemical incidents and preventing the misuse of hazardous chemicals. Trainings cover a wide range of themes critical for the sustainable management of chemicals throughout their life cycle, including safety, security, health, and environment.
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.