· Tenth OPCW int’l meet takes off in Colombo tomorrow
Jul 02, 2012 (LBT) - SMEs. the backbone of our economy, is to receive global support on chemical handing and management. “Having assisted to build Sri Lanka’s national capacity in chemical handling, we are looking to build capacity in safety, security and handling of industrial chemicals by Sri Lanka’s SME sector next” announced Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Ahmet Üzümcü announced this during the special discussion on ‘Importance of Hazardous Material Management at Work Sites’ held at Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on 25 June. Mr Üzümcü has arrived in Colombo on the early hours of 25 June on a special invitation previously extended by Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry & Commerce of Sri Lanka.
Among the participants at the CCC facilitated event on 25 June were the private sector firms involved in industrial chemicals, industry sector representatives from asbestos cement industry, top officials of Ministry of Industry and Commerce, officials from the CCC, and the Department of Commerce. Among the private sector firms present were CW Mackie, David Peiris Motor Co Plc, CIC, DPL Group, Hayleys, HNB Assurance, Logiwiz, Asian Alliance PLC and Associated Battery Manufacturers.
“For OPCW, Sri Lanka is an important state party. Sri Lanka has now a better chance of attracting industrial investments from foreign investors for large scale industrial chemical ventures thanks to the chemical regulatory and monitoring regime now in place. But the problem occurs in Lanka’s SME sector since they can’t afford to enforce industrial chemical safety and security handling procedures due to lack of capacity. Having assisted to build Sri Lanka’s national capacity in chemical handling, we are looking to build capacity in safety, security and handling of industrial chemicals by Sri Lanka’s SME sector next. The tenth ‘Regional Meeting of the National Authorities of States Parties in Asia under the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ starting 26 June at Taj Samudra, will be followed by training sessions” Ahmet Üzümcü, who was a career diplomat for 34 years, said. Ahmet Üzümcü represented Turkey in NATO and has considerable experience in disarmament and proliferation.
Ahmet Üzümcü’s OPCW is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and is given the mandate to achieve the object of the CWC to ensure the implementation of its provisions, including those for international verification of compliance with it. Annually, Ahmet Üzümcü’s chemical inspectors visit around 400 chemical facilities across the world for inspection. Expanding its role, OPCW now also supports member countries in managing their industrial chemicals safely.
The Tenth Regional Meeting in Colombo starting June 26 will focus on, among others, the status of implementation of the convention, round table discussions on regulatory and legislative implementation of it and OPCW’s web-based tools and e-based support. The event will see reps from not only Asia but also from the Pacific region. The relevant national legislation for Sri Lanka is the Chemical Weapons Convention Act No. 58 of 2007. Under the Act, it is an offence to manufacture use or trade certain toxic chemicals listed in the Convention without the approval of the National Authority established for implementing the Convention in Sri Lanka. In October 2011, Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka launched the first ever Chemical Awareness Session for 52 private and State sector organisations involved in imports and exports of industrial chemicals.