The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) provided legislative assistance to representatives of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania during a National Legislative Review Forum held online on 23 February. Forums of this type provide Member States with the opportunity to review their Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) legislative and regulatory frameworks in close consultation with experts from the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW.
The Head of Mauritania’s OPCW National Liaison Centre, Mr Mohamed Wedou Lemghambodje, expressed: “This comprehensive training strengthened our working methods and assisted us in gaining clarity on how to set up our national regulations.”
OPCW’s Head of the Implementation Support Branch, Ms Beatrix Lahoupe, noted: “Through such legal technical assistance activities, the OPCW works to enhance Member State understanding of their national legislative and regulatory frameworks relating to the CWC while equipping them with the skills to identify potential gaps and areas for improvement. Strengthening capacity in this area serves to improve the accuracy of reporting, increase the knowledge of relevant national stakeholders, and reduce gaps in national legislative implementation.”
During the forum, attended by delegates from the Mauritanian National Authority, the OPCW experts stressed the critical role of comprehensive national implementing legislation in both fully realising the goals of the Convention and countering the re-emergence of chemical weapons. The Mauritanian delegates also received tailored legal assistance aimed at ensuring that national legislative and regulatory frameworks are in place to comprehensively implement all Member State obligations under the CWC.
As of 31 July 2020, 23 out of 52 OPCW Member States in Africa had adopted comprehensive national legislation implementing obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
Three National Legislative Review Forums have been held since the inception of the initiative in 2020. The pilot forum was held in October 2020 with the National Authority of Armenia, while the second event in December 2020 assisted the National Authority of Cambodia.
The OPCW’s Implementation Support Branch delivers a range of programmes that provide assistance to OPCW Member States to develop and adopt CWC national implementing legislation. These include awareness raising and sensitisation activities and legal technical assistance and capacity building programmes. The branch also reviews and provides comments on draft national implementing legislation submitted to the OPCW by Member States.
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.