Experts from Portuguese speaking OPCW Member States expand chemical incident response capabilities

Experts from the Portuguese speaking Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), upgraded their skills in chemical incident response capabilities during an online course held from 23 to 25 November. The event was conducted by the OPCW in partnership with the Brazilian Army and the Brazilian Navy.

The course leader from the Brazilian Army, Major Leonardo Dos Santos, remarked: “This is the first online course that aims to strengthen chemical safety and emergency preparedness in Portuguese speaking OPCW Member States. The course participants will later practice the acquired knowledge working as teams managed by an incident commander and a team leader.”

The Senior Programme Officer from OPCW’s Assistance and Protection Branch underlined: “For this virtual course, we are very fortunate to benefit from an excellent group of instructors from the Brazilian Army and the Brazilian Navy who guide the participants through topics related to response operations for incidents involving chemical warfare agents or toxic industrial chemicals. The efforts of our Brazilian colleagues are an important contribution to the full and effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention’s Article X on Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons.”

The training covered a range of topics, including types and characteristics of chemical warfare agents and industrial chemicals, incident command, personal protection, sampling, detection and identification, and decontamination. The course also provided information about safety measures and procedures necessary to manage incidents directly at the scene.

The course was attended by 17 experts from six Portuguese speaking Member States: Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Timor-Leste.

Background

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 has been the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapon 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.

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