The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) today conducted an online Peaceful Uses of Chemistry Forum for Member States from Africa. The meeting helped establish next steps for OPCW’s capacity building programmes on the continent in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
OPCW’s Head of the International Cooperation Branch, Mr Li Zhao, stressed the importance of promoting peaceful uses of chemistry for the economic and technological development of Member States. He expressed: “The OPCW strives to continuously upgrade its capacity building methods to strengthen chemical safety and security management. This constant process of review and improvement requires a firm commitment, support, and the spirit of cooperation among all stakeholders.”
The forum allowed the participants to share lessons learned and best practice related to the delivery of online capacity building programmes in the challenging circumstances of the global pandemic. The attendees also identified needs, gaps, and actionable proposals to overcome these obstacles.
The participants benefited from the expertise of experienced professionals from three OPCW Member States (Algeria, Niger, and Sudan), the University of Wuppertal in Germany, and the OPCW Technical Secretariat.
The online meeting attracted 37 participants from government agencies, academia, and chemical industry. They represented the following 12 OPCW Member States from Africa: Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Sudan.
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 that can meet the challenge posed by the current pandemic verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.