Steering Committee welcomes continued progress in the implementation of the OPCW’s Africa program

The Steering Committee of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) program to enhance cooperation with Africa on the Chemical Weapons Convention held its fourth online progress review meeting on November 15 .

In attendance were 49 participants, including members of the Committee, observers and the staff of the Technical Secretariat headed by the Director General of the OPCW, HE Mr. Fernando Arias and the Deputy Director General, HE Ambassador Odette Melono.

In his introductory remarks, Director General Arias underlined the effectiveness of the Steering Committee in facilitating exchanges and coordination with key stakeholders in Africa. He also reiterated “the Secretariat’s unwavering commitment to support the needs and priorities of African States Parties in particular, through the Africa Program”.

The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kenya to the OPCW and Chairman of the Steering Committee, HE Ambassador Lawrence Lenayapa, expressed his satisfaction to see the Africa Program “continue to promote collaboration between the OPCW Technical Secretariat and African member states, as part of strengthening the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention on the continent.

Deputy Director-General Melono moderated the Technical Secretariat’s briefing to the Committee, which included presentations by the Director of the Division for International Cooperation and Assistance and her team on the progress made in the implementation of the 5th phase of the Program since the last Committee meeting on June 25. This included capacity building events, the provision of technical expertise, support for African scholarships, research projects and participation in scientific conferences, and the development of global partnerships to expand the impact of the program.

The Steering Committee and observers congratulated the Director General of the OPCW and the Technical Secretariat for the progress made.

The delegations of Algeria, Cameroon and Morocco expressed satisfaction with the implementation so far and highlighted the ongoing initiatives that they support, both as partners and as beneficiaries. from the program.

The Committee recognized the importance of the support provided by donor states, including recent voluntary financial contributions from France and the United Kingdom. The Permanent Representative of the United States to the OPCW, HE Ambassador Joseph Manso, announced a new voluntary contribution of € 165,000 for the organization of a Regional Conference on the Application of Effective Customs Control on trade in toxic chemicals in Africa.

The Steering Committee meeting brought together the Permanent Representations and National Authorities of Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa and Sudan. They were joined by the observers from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.

Background

The Program for Strengthening Cooperation with Africa on the Chemical Weapons Convention – known as the Africa Program – focuses on the needs of the OPCW Member States on that continent, including promoting the uses of Africa. chemistry for peaceful and authorized purposes to support a developed, safe, and secure Africa.

The Africa Program is based on a three-year planning and has completed four phases since its inception. A fifth phase was launched in January 2020 and covers the period 2020-2022. The design of this phase is based on a needs assessment followed by broad and inclusive consultations with African Member States. The program benefits from voluntary contributions from a number of OPCW Member States.

As the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 member states, oversees the global effort to eliminate chemical weapons permanently. Since the Convention entered into force in 1997, it has been the most effective disarmament treaty eliminating a whole category of weapons of mass destruction.

Over 98% of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its considerable efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

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