National Authorities from Africa explore ways to improve CWC implementation

Representatives of National Authorities from 21 Member States of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from Africa explored ways to advance the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) at their nineteenth regional meeting held online from 15 to 17 June.

OPCW’s Director of the International Cooperation and Assistance Division, Ms Kayoko Gotoh, remarked: “In spite of the restrictions imposed by the global Covid-19 pandemic, since December 2020 the OPCW Technical Secretariat has conducted 23 capacity building events that have benefited over 400 professionals from 33 African Member States. Our support addresses the needs and priorities expressed by the Member States from the continent, including the domestic implementation of the Convention, control over cross-border transfers of toxic chemicals, chemical emergency response, laboratory capacity development, and chemical safety and security.”

The Secretary of the Nigerian National Authority on Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, Mr Chukwuka Cyril Okwuosa, noted: “The regional meeting is an important forum for National Authorities from Africa to discuss pertinent issues related to national implementation of the Convention. We are happy to have an opportunity to share good practice with our colleagues from the region and we feel empowered by the knowledge provided by the Technical Secretariat on a broad range of issues related to the Convention.”

During the meeting, National Authority representatives shared insights on effective CWC implementation at country level, including appropriate verification activities and development of national legislation. They examined good practice and challenges encountered in their liaison role with the OPCW for the fulfilment of Member State obligations under the Convention. Participants also proposed fresh ideas to intensify CWC education and outreach activities in their nations.

OPCW’s Technical Secretariat briefed attendees about its new capacity building initiatives designed to assist Member States in ensuring the full implementation of the Convention.

The meeting was attended by 42 representatives from the following 21 Member States: Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, the Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe.

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 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.

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