Pacific island nations participate in chemical weapons workshop in Australia

The government of Australia and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) co-hosted a sub-regional workshop on chemical weapons policy and verification from May 20-24 in Brisbane.

The National Capacity Evaluation and Training Workshop for National Authorities of States Parties in Pacific Island States included 38 participants from 15 countries, as well as representatives from Australia and Timor-Leste.

The participants gained hands-on experience in the details of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), including the industry verification regime, national legislation and the role of National Authorities, Article VI declarations. The workshop allowed the participants to share experiences and best practices regarding chemical weapons. It also included a five-day module on preparing and drafting CWC legislation.

Director General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Robert Floyd stressed the importance of the CWC in the modern world during his opening remarks of the workshop, and offered Australia's support its implementation in Pacific island nations. Representatives from New Zealand also offered their support.

OPCW is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention and was founded in 1997. The convention currently has 190 member states, which collaborate to eliminate chemical weapons. OPCW is run by an executive council made up of 41 members elected to two-year terms.