Windhoek-Cabinet has approved the Chemical Weapons Prohibition and Control Bill, which will ultimately see Namibia make headway towards full implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention.
This was announced by the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Stanley Simataa during a briefing of the outcome of the cabinet briefing on Friday.
He said the designation of the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development as the lead ministry should give effect to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The Convention aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons by States Parties.
States Parties of which Namibia is also party to, in turn, must take the steps necessary to enforce that prohibition in respect of persons (natural or legal) within their jurisdiction.
All States Parties have agreed to chemically disarm by destroying any stockpiles of chemical weapons they may hold and any facilities which produced them, as well as any chemical weapons they abandoned on the territory of other States Parties in the past.
Simataa noted Cabinet directed the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development to submit the Item to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation (CCL) for further scrutiny and re-submission to Cabinet for endorsement, before its tabling in the National Assembly.
A Namibia delegation gained a deeper understanding of activities related to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on a visit to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) headquarters, from April 19-21, 2017.
During the visit, the delegation met with OPCW’s Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, alongside senior OPCW staff to discuss issues related to its national implementation of the CWC, the overall progress being made on destruction of chemical weapons, the status of the mission in Syria, and efforts to universalise the CWC. The Director-General’s briefing emphasised the importance of nurturing a legislative mechanism for effective national implementation and encouraged the delegation to undertake activities to reinforce the indispensable nature of the CWC and the role of the OPCW as the international authority on chemical weapons, during the OPCW’s 20th anniversary year.
A series of meetings with OPCW officials further shed light on matters related to the early adoption of CWC implementing legislation and on ensuring effective implementation of the Convention on a national level. On the last day of the visit, the delegation was escorted to the OPCW Laboratory in Rijswijk.
This visit enabled delegates to gain a better understanding of the Convention and provided a valuable opportunity for them to prepare and review an action plan for the adoption of the draft legislation.
Members of the delegation included a Member of Parliament, Leevi Katoma, the Permanent Secretary and Chief of the Legislative Drafting Committee of the Ministry of Justice, and senior officials from the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, and the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation.
The visit was conducted as part of the OPCW’s Influential Visitors Programme (IVP) that aims at supporting States Parties throughout the process of implementing legislation within their respective national systems.
The Programme was successfully launched in 2015 for Uganda and resulted in adoption of the national legislation by the Ugandan Parliament.
Namibia received assistance from the OPCW in preparing the initial draft of its national legislation in 2015, through its participation in the Internship Programme for Legal Drafters and National Authority Representatives that was organised by the Technical Secretariat.