A group of Latin American and Caribbean first responders recently participated in an emergency response training event involving chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals held at the Spanish National NBC Defense School in Madrid, Spain.

Developed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the training event focused on implementing Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which focuses on assistance and protection against chemical weapons.

“It is paramount that the knowledge and protocols provided by this training serve as a complement to the training activities that you design and implement in your home countries,” Nieves Gómez Sainz de Aja, executive secretary to the Spanish National Authority to the CWC, said.

In total, the course featured 26 attendees from a number of OPCW Member States, including Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, St Lucia, and Uruguay.

OPCW Senior Assistant and Protection Officer Justo Quintero Mendez discussed the importance of the skills taught during the course, noting that the contribution of instructors from Latin America and the Caribbean was important in strengthening regional response capabilities against chemical attacks and incidents involving toxic industrial chemicals.

According to the OPCW, the training-of-trainers approach helps ensure sustainable and efficient use of OPCW resources for capacity building and aims to exchange knowledge, skills, and protocols in the area of assistance and protection.

OPCW serves as the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Entered into force in 1997, the CWC represents the most successful disarmament treaty in history targeting an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. Source.