The Uganda Government has asked States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention to consider establishing an academy in Uganda to build local and regional capacity in handling chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related affairs.
The appeal was contained in a statement delivered Friday by Mr. Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development at the ongoing fourth special session of the conference of states parties to review the operation of the chemical weapons convention.
The high level conference kicked off on Wednesday and will run until 30th November, 2018, at the Hague, Netherlands.
Bigirimana noted that the academy would be an elevation of the Africa technical support programme through which African countries, including Uganda, are benefiting from the exchange of knowledge, provision of equipment and related technologies.
Uganda has been hosting the regional operational training under the Convention, with the latest training having taken place from 24th October – 1st November, 2018 in Jinja.
A total of 36 participants from Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda were trained as a pool of experts to conduct downward trainings and first responders to toxic chemical emergencies in the region.
Bigirimana said the programme had continued to infuse the necessary skills and capacity building within the implementation of the Convention.
“My delegation (therefore) requests for support from State Parties in order to realize the idea of the academy and centre of excellence being established in Uganda,” Bigirimana said.
He commended the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, especially the Assistance and Protection Branch, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom for dedicating expert trainers for the East Africa programme.
Uganda ratified the chemical weapons convention in 2001, after which, the Gender Ministry was appointed National Authority for domestication of the convention.
Although Uganda does not possess, produce or have stockpiles of chemical weapons, several of the chemicals used in local industries are a great threat to the population and require skilled handling.
Further in his statement, Bigirimana noted that Uganda attaches great importance to the universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention and called upon States that are not yet Party to the Convention to ratify or accede and fully implement its provisions.
“This will guarantee more safety and security on our continent and the world at large,” he said.
He said Uganda is fully committed to its obligations under the Convention and encouraged State Parties to work towards achieving consensus and a successful conclusion of the Fourth Review Conference.