OPCW assists Member States in protecting against chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) continues to build the capacity of Russian speaking First Responders with the new modular online training programme: “Protection Against Chemical Weapon Agents and Toxic Industrial Chemicals.” A training session covering the second specialised training module – “Chemical Emergency Response: Devices and Equipment” – was held online from 28 July to 2 August.

Senior Programme Officer from the OPCW’s Assistance and Protection Branch, Mr Anton Martyniuk, underlined: “Following the training held in May, the participants continue to strengthen their skills and gain the knowledge necessary for responding to accidents and incidents involving chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals.”

Supported by a team of international instructors, the attendees developed their knowledge of chemical reconnaissance devices, detection and identification of unknown chemicals, and various equipment used while responding to chemical accidents and incidents.

The training, conducted with the International Rescuers Training Centre (IRT Centre) based in Belarus, supports the implementation of Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons, despite the constraints resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new online training programme is a complementary learning tool supporting an eventual return to in-person training. The digital offering currently encompasses one basic and several specialised modules to be studied over six months to strengthen national preparedness to respond to accidents and incidents involving chemical weapons or toxic industrial chemicals. The tool will build a sustainable set of theoretical knowledge and practical skills to help ensure First Responders provide a timely, effective, and safe response to such accidents and incidents.

The training was attended by 56 professionals from eight OPCW Member States: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, and Ukraine.

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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