Algiers, September 23rd – October 04th, 2023
Algeria attended, with a large delegation, the 5th Review Conference on the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, held in The Hague from 15 to 19 May 2023.
This participation was rendered even more high-profiled and distinctive by the convening, in close coordination with the Technical Secretariat of OPCW, of a very well-attended side-event, on 15 May 2023 in The Hague, dubbed “CHEMEX Africa 2023, Capacity building within the framework of South-South Cooperation”. Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of Canada, Sweden, South-Africa, Namibia, Rwanda, Mozambique, Cuba and Vietnam and other Ambassadors, top officials of the Organisation, diplomats and experts of different nationalities attended the event and interacted with the speakers.
In her opening address at the side-event, Ambassador Salima Abdelhak reiterated Algeria’s full commitment to disarmament, chemical disarmament included. She stressed also the prominent role of Algeria and its contributions in the implementation OPCW’s capacity building activities, especially in Africa. Afterwards, the Permanent Representative of Canada, Ambassador Lisa Helfand reaffirmed her country’s support as major donor to CHEMEX Africa 2023 in Algiers.
The other members of the Algerian delegation namely Mr Boualem Belhadj, Executive Secretary of the National Authority and its board members presented this national mechanism designed to ensure full implementation of the Convention on Chemical Weapons as well as Algeria’s efforts to promote South-South cooperation within the scope of OPCW’s activities.
They also outlined the state of preparations for “CHEMEX Africa”, due to take pace in Algiers from September 23 to October 04, 2023. This landmark event is a pan-African multi-component emergency response exercise and demonstration. It aims at developing counter-chemical capability in Africa in order to mitigate, investigate, respond and recover from chemical incidents or attacks involving chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals. It also intends to foster ‘South-South’ cooperation by encouraging broad participation of African instructors and to check and improve preparedness of African countries to respond to chemical-related incidents.
Representative of the Algerian National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology attended as well the event and gave a presentation on the expertise of this major scientific hub.
For their part, senior officials of the Technical secretariat of OPCW presented “CHEMTECH Centre” and its foreseen involvement in capacity building in Africa.
It is worth noting that “CHEMEX Africa 2023” will run over a period of 02 weeks and comprises 05 phases: Phase 01 – Briefing/pre-exercise Lecture/workshop (TS lead); Phase 02 – Basic Assistance and Protection Course (EAC team/mentors lead); Phase 03 – Specialised Skills Demo and Training (Supporting SP lead); Phase 04 – Field Exercise (TS/Mentorlead); and Phase 05-African stakeholders/VIP Demo and Exercise/Exhibition (TS lead).
In the meeting, attendees thoroughly discussed requirements, criteria and other specifications related to the participation to CHEMEX AFRICA 2023» such as profile and maximum number of participants each country is allowed to.
In this respect, SADDC, ECOWAS and ECCAS countries were strongly encouraged to participate in CHEMEX Africa 2023 Algiers. It is also expected that gender-sensitive policy will be implemented by encouraging more females to apply.
At the end, Ambassadors and other officials present at this side-event commanded Algeria for hosting the upcoming event.