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Uganda Plans for Toxic Chemical Detection Academy

The Ugandan Government has proposed the construction of a specialized school to build capacity in toxic chemical detection and prevention, Chimp Corps report.

This idea was presented by Mr Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, during the Fourth Special Session of the Conference of States Parties to review the operation of the Chemical Weapons taking place in The Hague.

The 9-day Convention (Fourth Review Conference) kicked off on November 21, 2018

“Uganda wishes to propose that an Academy to operate as a center of excellence in capacity building in areas related to the implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention and Conventions on Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear be established in Uganda,” said Bigirimana.

“My delegation requests for support from any State Party in order to realise the idea,” he emphasized.

Uganda hopes to become the second country in Africa after South Africa to run a nuclear energy plant.

Government has since listed 8 potential sites for nuclear power plants across the country.

But this requires developing building capacity and strengthening collaborations with development partners.

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Speaking at the high level function, Bigirimana said Uganda appreciates the ongoing exchange of knowledge, provision of equipment and related technologies, and capacity building programmes that promote the safe use of chemicals for purposes not prohibited by the Convention.

“My delegation looks forward to the outcome of discussions among African States Parties, the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW and other stakeholders on the implementation of Africa Programme. The Fourth Review Conference should recognize the need to continue allocating resources to the Africa Programme to ensure its success,” he emphasized.

Uganda does not possess, produce or have stockpiles of chemical weapons.

However, said the PS, the support from the Technical Secretariat in the implementation of the programme for Africa has continued to infuse the necessary skills and capacity building within the implementation of the Convention.

Bigirimana told delegates that Uganda hosted members from States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention from the East African region for the Third Operational Training in Emergency Response to Chemical Incident or attack from 24 October – 1 November 2018 in Jinja, Uganda.

The main objective of the training was to equip the participants with knowledge and skills in handling emergencies involving toxic chemicals.

The training was facilitated by experts from the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom coordinated by OPCW.

A total of 36 participants from Burundi, Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda were trained.

“This training is in line of capacity building for the region to provide future trainings in the region using the pool of experts trained under this programme,” said the Permanent Secretary.

Uganda’s Atomic Energy Bill came into effect in 2008, to regulate the use of ionising radiation and provide a framework to develop nuclear power generation.

In October 2008, Uganda signed up to the IAEA’s Country Programme Framework, which provides a frame of reference for planning medium-term technical cooperation between an IAEA member state and the Agency, and identifies priority areas where the transfer of nuclear technology and technical cooperation resources will be directed to support national development goals.

Weapons

Bigirimana said Uganda remained opposed to the use of chemical weapons and toxic chemicals anywhere by anyone are contrary to the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention and those found to be responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.

“Uganda considers the destruction of chemical weapons as a commitment of every State Party to the Convention. Whereas 96 percent of the chemical weapons stockpiles declared have been destroyed, we would encourage the complete destruction of all remaining chemical weapons stockpiles as soon as possible,” said Bigirimana.

With regard to Syria Arab Republic, Bigirimana said Uganda took note of the work so far done by the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) and looked forward to receiving its reports.

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