Ten analytical chemists who work in laboratories that support or have plans to support customs services around the world recently completed an Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) training course in the Netherlands.
The inaugural training course, which was held from Dec. 11-15 at the OPCW Laboratory in Rijswijk, was part of OPCW’s new capacity-building initiative for analytical chemists working in customs services.
“Customs services worldwide are expanding their role in addressing the security threats,” Hamza Khelif, the director of the OPCW International Cooperation and Assistance Division, said. “Customs’ laboratories support the frontline work of customs officers and contribute to promoting chemical security through the analyses of substances that may be used as chemical weapons”.
Attendees of the training session learned how to analyze and handle chemicals that are listed under the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The chemists also studied the role of customs labs in supporting border controls and visited the Dutch Customs Laboratory and the Netherlands Forensic Institute. There, they learned best practices for an evidentiary chain of custody and specific chemical analysis procedures for border controls.
Analytical chemists from Algeria, Belarus, El Salvador, Ghana, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Philippines, Serbia, and Vietnam took part in the training session.