Wednesday, August 17, 2011

9th Regional Meeting of African National Authorities Held in Ghana

The Government of the Republic of Ghana and the OPCW co-hosted the meeting from 26 to 28 July 2011 in Accra, with 60 participants from 27 States Parties* present together with a representative of the African Union (AU) Commission.

In her opening statement Ms. Sherry Ayittey, the Minister for Environment, Science and Technology and Chairperson of the National Authority of Ghana, challenged the participants to “seize the opportunity to find common solutions to existing and emerging challenges they are confronted with in their respective jurisdictions.”

H.E. Mrs Grace Asirwatham, Deputy Director-General of the OPCW, noted several positive developments on the African continent in recent years. She said many States Parties in the region have demonstrated a new commitment and revived their efforts to ensure the speedy adoption of national implementing legislation and other obligations – a development partly spurred on, she added, by the OPCW’s Programme to Strengthen Cooperation with Africa. The Programme was launched in 2007, and due to the progress made it has been extended for an additional 3-year period.

In a statement read on its behalf, the AU Commission noted that unlike other forms of weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons can be more easily produced and are of particular risk in the hands of terrorists. Ensuring their complete elimination therefore requires concerted action at the national, regional, continental and global levels. The Commission welcomed further engagement with the OPCW in line with the AU’s firm commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

In addition to discussing issues related to implementation of the Convention in the region, the meeting serves as a forum for States Parties to exchange information, present their needs for assistance, and indicate which forms of assistance they can offer to other States Parties.

* Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

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