OPCW training builds capacity of analytical chemists in Africa

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Finnish Institute for the Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (VERIFIN) have co-organized a two-week Analytical Skills Development Course for professionals in the chemistry of African Member States. The training took place online from May 30 to June 10, 2022 with the financial support of the European Union.

The training focused on building the capacity of qualified analytical chemists in the quantitative analysis of chemicals related to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). It also aimed to deepen participants’ knowledge of sample preparation, quality control, health and environmental issues related to toxic chemicals, and national CAC implementation.

In addition, participants received training in gas chromatography (GC), a modern analytical technique used to separate and analyze chemical substances. The theory behind GC has been covered as well as GC equipment, its optimization, system validation and troubleshooting. Participants were also introduced to GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) as well as a range of extraction, clean-up and derivatization procedures used in the analysis of CWC-related chemicals.

The course provided a useful platform for participants to exchange their individual work experiences and challenges encountered with both GC and GC-MS and to learn good laboratory practices.

During the opening session on May 30, the OPCW Program Officer, Mr. Saurabh Bhandari, said: “This type of specialized course plays an important role in strengthening and reinforcing the ongoing efforts to improve analytical capacities and knowledge sharing between Member States. This is an essential element to advance the national implementation of the CWC.

The program brought together 14 participants from 11 OPCW Member States: Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Nigeria, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

OPCW training builds capacity of analytical chemists in Africa

Background

The OPCW Analytical Chemistry courses are designed for chemists in Member States’ laboratories with the aim of building national capacity, promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of chemistry and advancing the implementation of the CAC.

As the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 member states, oversees the global effort to eliminate chemical weapons forever. Since the Convention entered into force in 1997, it has been the most successful disarmament treaty, eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

Over 99% of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its tremendous efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author or authors. See in full here.