Feb 06, 2017

Sri Lanka achieves Hague’s Chemical Convention milestone

Sri Lanka celebrates a historic milestone on the global Chemical Weapons Convention this year–and the first ever international training session to be held in Sri Lanka on emergency chemical incidents has commenced in Colombo on 6 January morning with officials from the Hague specially flying in to run the closed-door proceedings by themselves.

“This year we complete ten years of implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention provisions in Sri Lanka” declared the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen in Colombo. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the inauguration event of the international training session on Emergency Response to Chemical Incidents conducted in Colombo by the Hague’s Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Joining Minister Bathiudeen at the event were Head of Assistance and Protection Branch of the OPCW Shawn DeCaluwe with his OPCW experts, chemical experts from the tri-forces of Sri Lanka, Secretary of Ministry of Industry and Commerce Chinthana Lokuhetti. The session is jointly organized by the National Authority of Chemical Weapons Convention in Sri Lanka and the Netherlands based OPCW.

“OPCW provides information on the Chemical Weapons Convention and monitors compliance among the states parties that have ratified the treaty” said Head of Assistance and Protection Branch of the OPCW Shawn DeCaluwe, and added: “For the first time our Hague office engaged in field operations in Syria as well.”

“This year the country completes ten years of implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention since its ratification here through an act of parliament in 2007. Sri Lanka has a proper system of implementing this convention mainly through the National Authority established under the Ministry of Industry & Commerce -. Most of the countries in Asia region do not have the knowledge and skills on response to chemical incidents. The countries are meeting here today in a background of a global shift in use-in that the production of industrial chemicals has been shifting to the developing world. South Asian countries becoming a key player in this sector due to heavy chemical use by them.

Participants from India, China, Bahrain, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Korea, Philippines, Mongolia, Myanmar, Maldives, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, and Sri Lanka. The chemical training session currently taking place in Colombo is the fifth such session conducted anywhere in the world by OPCW-and the first ever to be held in Sri Lanka.