OPCW evaluating proficiency tests for designated labs

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons held a meeting last Thursday in the Netherlands at the Technical Secretariat in The Hague to evaluate the preliminary results of the 28th Proficiency Test for OPCW Designated Laboratories.

Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the OPCW, congratulated and welcomed the test participants. He stressed the importance and capabilities of the designated laboratories to deter possible Chemical Weapons Convention breaches. He also discussed how the testing of these facilities is important for the confidence building of all states involved in the CWC.

“In this regard, the role of laboratories around the world in the functioning of what is now a well-honed and unique verification mechanism is of crucial importance,” Uzumcu said. “I therefore congratulate you on your important work which is vital to the success of our mission.”

The OPCW Designated Laboratories investigate potential violations of the CWC by performing off-site analysis of chemical samples collected by OPCW inspectors from storage depots, installations and chemical production facilities. They may also take samples from the site of alleged chemical weapons use. They take this data and can provide forensic proof if a there has been a violation of the convention.

Proficiency tests by the OPCW are held twice a year and can be taken by interested laboratories from any OPCW member state. The laboratories earn the status of designated laboratory by receiving high scores on three consecutive tests. There are 18 OPCW designated laboratories in Asia, Europe and the United States.