Namibia makes progress in Chemical Weapons Act

Although Namibia has made progress towards the completion of the Chemical Weapons Act, a lot needs to be done to ensure that the country domesticates the Chemical Weapons Convention by promulgating the law.

This was said by industrialisation and trade minister Lucia Iipumbu when she opened the Integrated Advanced Course and Exercise on Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons for Anglophone States Parties in Windhoek yesterday.

She said the workshop, organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), presents a platform for Namibia to learn from others to ensure that the right legal frameworks are put in place.

“Namibia and by extension, all Africa State Parties represented at this workshop, appreciate the support from the OPCW to build capacities in the implementation of the convention in Africa.

“This can be seen in the number of initiatives targeting Africa and the increased use of chemicals in the industrial and agricultural sectors,” she said as she encouraged participants to engage fully in the sessions and network to build meaningful relations that will continue after the workshop.

Iipumbu said there has been an increase in chemicals being transported and stored, which increases the potential of accidents on roads and industrial sites.

“The potential accessibility of these chemicals by any individuals is also of concern and there is a need to share valuable practical ideas on how we intend to deal with such incidents so that we ensure the sustainable development of Africa,” she said.

Iipumbu said Africa’s industrialisation would be a win-win for the world and would help raise productivity by spurring technological progress and innovation, while simultaneously creating higher-skilled jobs in the formal sector in advanced economies.

Africa’s industrialisation would also promote linkages between rural and urban economies, and among consumers, intermediates and capital goods industries, she added.

According to Iipumbu, predictions indicate that Africa will continue towards urbanisation whose typical trend is higher consumption of industrial produced products.

“As a result, this scenario will result in higher household chemical usage throughout many developing and growing African urban centres.

“It is, therefore, imperative and incumbent upon us to put in place mechanisms that can reduce the after-effect of chemicals and in this regard, training of this nature will be of great assistance,” she said.

Iipumbu added that the establishment of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and trade liberalisation has led to a number of African nations importing chemicals.

“Our green industrialisation ambitions, including our green hydrogen agenda, present an opportunity to leverage on best practices to ease our operationalisation. What is particularly important is for us to evaluate and keep an eye on the risks connected to the trade in chemicals and chemicals found in products.

“Therefore, as a region, we need to be strong in national implementation with realistic action plans to successfully implement all aspects of the convention,” she said.
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