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Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of Weapons in a Changing World

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5th Annual Summer Programme on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction in a Changing World

By Tanya Mehra LL.M., Education Development Manager, T.M.C. Asser Instituut.

The WMD Summer Programme from 1 to 5 September 2014 in The Hague is designed as a one-stop shop to expand and deepen knowledge of WMD non-proliferation and disarmament. The programme aims to provide a broad understanding of international treaties on weapons of mass destruction for young professionals and advanced graduate students who aspire to careers in disarmament and non-proliferation, as part of the larger process of enhancing stability and security in the world.

The recent developments in Syria have dramatically highlighted the importance of WMD disarmament and non-proliferation and will be an important feature of this year’s programme.

Just this week the Director of the OPCW announced that a major landmark has been achieved as the last declared stockpile of chemicals has been shipped out of Syria. The mission to identify, remove and destroy the chemical weapons material from Syria has been an unprecedented collective international effort joining the OPCW, the UN and over 30 contributing countries. China, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Russia and the United States have all provided naval vessels and cargo ships for a complex maritime operation to remove the chemical weapons from Syria for destruction outside the country. Italy has provided the port of Gioia Tauro for transhipment of the most dangerous chemical onto a specially out-fitted U.S. ship, the Cape Ray, where they will be destroyed at sea. Other chemical elements will be destroyed at land-based facilities in Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Despite these historic efforts, Syria has not yet completed the elimination of its chemical weapons programme. Dr Paul Walker, director of the Environmental Security and Sustainability Program at Green Cross International and one of the speakers in the WMD programme, noted in a statement that chemical weapons production facilities in Syria have not been destroyed as required under Chemical Weapons Convention.

We are pleased that two senior OPCW inspectors who have been closely involved in the mission in Syria will take part in a panel. Dr Walker will moderate the discussion of this unprecedented mission and look into the challenges that lie ahead.

The Summer Programme will also reflect on the outcomes of the Nuclear Security Summit 2014 held in The Hague and examine implications of the growing convergence of biology and chemistry for the CWC and BWC regimes.

To complement the classroom content of the WMD Summer Programme, one full day is devoted to field visits. These include to the OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store in Rijswijk, to a nuclear research reactor at the Technical University in Delft, and to the TNO research organisation for a live exercise of investigating an alleged use of WMDs. The field visits offer participants direct experience in the way international treaties on WMDs are implemented at the national level.

If you are interested to join the WMD Summer Programme, there are still some seats available. Please register here.


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