OPCW co-hosts tabletop chemical release exercise in Indonesia

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons co-hosted a tabletop consequence management exercise on Monday and Tuesday with the European Union and the government of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The two-day exercise was held for states parties from the Southeast Asian region, including Thailand, Malaysia, The Philippines and Indonesia. The exercise simulated a large-scale release of toxic chemicals. There were 38 representatives from the four member states with two representatives from Myanmar participating as observers.

The representatives talked about how to manage such a crisis, the formulation of plans to respond to the incident and the mitigation of the impact of toxic chemicals on facilities and communities. Disaster management professionals from New Zealand and Australia were on hand to help participants explore each aspect of the scenario and draft response plans based on the best international practices.

Benny Wachjudi, the director general of the Indonesia's Department of Industry, highlighted the need for first responders to develop capacity and expertise to respond to chemical emergencies. Wachjudi thanked the OPCW and the European Union for their contributions to the necessary initiative.

The consequence management exercise is the first element of an ongoing project in chemical emergency response that will be held in Malaysia later in 2013.

Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention requires the OPCW to help states parties to develop the needed capacities to respond to the threat or use of chemical weapons and toxic chemicals.