Chemists Learn Role of Ethics and Policy in Ensuring Chemical Security

Tue, October 01, 2019

Chemists enhanced their knowledge of responsible research practices in chemistry and biochemistry, during a workshop on Policy and Diplomacy for Scientists held in Trieste, Italy from 09-13 September 2019.

The workshop focused on bridging the gap between science, academia, and policy makers; enhancing cooperation for sustainable chemistry, and the role of international organisations in enforcing policies and fostering cooperation.

In his opening statement, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Executive Director Professor Romain Murenzi underscored the importance of the workshop, emphasising the need to instil “the fundamental idea that chemistry should be used for peace, progress and prosperity” to chemists at the beginning of their careers, and provide them with a basic framework, and understanding of the Chemical Weapons Convention, dual-use technologies, and related areas.

OPCW’s Senior Programme Officer, Dr. Sergey Zinoviev, underlined the importance of knowledge-sharing and encouraged participants to share lessons-learned with their National Authorities and others in their field: ‘’the fundamental role of science education in mitigating chemical threats and the misuse of science lies not only through education, but through building trust and international cooperation,” he stated.

The programme included lectures, study tours, and discussion sessions focused on responsible conduct, ethics, and the role of education in science; modern safety and security practices in chemical and biological labs; and the application of diplomacy and sustainability in science and industry.

Practical demonstrations included the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) defence capabilities of a specialised firefighter brigade.

Workshop speakers included OPCW staff, members of OPCW’s Advisory Board on Education and Outreach, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), TWAS, IAP, Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), the International Centre for Genetic Engineering, and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and the University of Trieste.

The workshop was co-organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), and the Inter Academy Partnership (IAP) and was attended by 18 participants from: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Cuba, Eswatini, Germany, Iran, Italy, Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, South Africa, Sudan, UK, Ukraine, USA, Zimbabwe.

Background

This is the third workshop series on Policy and Diplomacy for Scientists: Introduction to Responsible Research Practices in Chemical and Biochemical Sciences.

As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

Over 97% of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

This article was originally published on OPWC's website.