Representatives of National Authorities from African State Parties recently convened at a regional meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in Banjul, Gambia to discuss successes and challenges related to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
In his opening speech, Permanent Secretary of Gambia’s Ministry of Defense Assad Tangara said the existence of chemical weapons would always pose a threat to international peace and security while reiterating the long-standing commitment of African States to effective CWC implementation.
Panelists focused on a number of issues related to chemical agent nonproliferation including security challenges posed by non-state actors, verification activities, the adoption of national CWC implementing legislation, and expanding educational outreach initiatives.
The event’s working sessions featured attendee presentations on chemical agent good practices, communicating future plans for further CWC implementation, and discussions on the OPCW’s mission to strengthen cooperation amongst African nations.
OPCW Director of International Cooperation and Assistance Hamza Khelif used a speech to emphasize that further efforts were needed to overcome gaps in national CWC implementing legislation, transfer enforcement of dual-use chemicals, and enhancing each State Parties’ protective capacities against chemical incidents.
Included in the event were representatives from Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Gambia, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
OPCW serves as the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Entered into force in 1997, the convention represents the most-successful disarmament treaty in history targeting an entire class of weapons. It is the most successful disarmament treaty targeting an entire class of weapons of mass destruction in history.
To date, approximately 95 percent of all chemical weapons stockpiles declares by OPCW’s 192 Member States have been destroyed under the organization’s verification.