“The knowledge, understanding, insights, skills, and professional relationships that we have achieved and developed through the training are of greatest value”, says Gideon Arguelles Legaspi from the Philippines after the five-week intensive online-course. The Bergische Universität Wuppertal (BUW), in cooperation with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), has developed its course on “Explosion protection and error management in the Chemical Process Industries” to perfection in the past 10 years. For more than a decade, in-person training courses for about two hundred participants from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as last year’s first entirely online course, have contributed to enhancing chemical safety and security world-wide. “The entire series of webinar sessions, the demonstrations, videos, Q & A sessions, group exercise and case studies were outstanding”, emphasizes Ramakrishnan Narayanan from India. He further elaborates that “real brainstorming sessions” took place, during which they were steered by team-leaders from amongst the participants. This exercise led to fruitful exchanges, which fed into the further progress of the course attended by 24 participants from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Seychelles, Tunisia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Grenada, Guatemala, Peru, Bangladesh, Cyprus, India, Malaysia, Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Since 2009, the Federal Foreign Office has financed this course on safety & security in the chemical industry every year, implemented by the BUW and aimed at representatives from governments and national authorities, but also at industry practitioners and academic researchers. They are invited to undergo a highly specialised training, enabling them to subsequently share and thus multiply their newly gained knowledge back at home. The 2021 participant from Sri Lanka, Induni Nirosha Dilrukshi Warnakulasuriya, confirms: “This course was very interesting and useful in order to enhance my knowledge in Explosion Protection and Error Management. Now I will be able to see issues from a different angle when I conduct industrial inspections. I can also provide more safety tips to them. When conducting training and awareness workshops, I can disseminate the gained knowledge to the industrial personnel and also to my colleagues.”
At the opening of the 2021 course, Bianca Müller, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the OPCW, stressed that these participants “will yet again enlarge the group of ambassadors of chemical security in their home countries. The CWC enshrines not only the ban on chemical weapons, but also calls upon all States Parties to help enhancing the peaceful and safe use of chemistry. This is why the Federal Foreign Office and the German Permanent Representation to the OPCW will continue to support the ”Wuppertal course“ and funding for the next two years has already been confirmed.”