Course held to bolster chemical screening at customs checkpoints in Africa

A training course held in Namibia, Africa, from Oct. 15 to 18 aimed to familiarize customs officers with technical standards for screening chemicals at checkpoints as outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The course, titled "Sub-regional Training for Customs Officials on Technical Aspects of the CWC Transfers' Regime," was organized by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the National Authority of Namibia. It was attended by 31 customs officials from 12 states in eastern and western Africa.

The course was designed to bolster programs that train national customs officers at security checkpoints. Attendees learned how implement programs that train officers to handle chemicals, assess the risk posed by chemical trans-shipments and utilize available software support.

Instructors also taught trainees how to identify scheduled chemicals and underscored the need for active stakeholder engagement with customs officials.

Course materials included the Handbook on Chemicals, the Online Scheduled Chemicals Database, the OPCW Central Analytical Database and other online resources that are available to customs officers.

In addition, trainees took a trip to the Walvis Bay seaport to observe how Namibian customs officials screen imported and exported chemicals in their day-to-day operations.

The course was organized by the OPCW's Program to Strengthen Cooperation with Africa. The Norwegian government provided funding for the course.