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Uganda's Chemical Weapon Compliance Hindered by Coordination, Expertise Gaps :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Uganda's Chemical Weapon Compliance Hindered by Coordination, Expertise Gaps

Since 1993, Uganda has been a state party to the CWC, committing to implementing measures to prohibit the use, development, production, stockpiling, or transfer of chemical weapons or their precursors, except for specific purposes such as research, medical, or pharmaceutical use.
20 Apr 2024 11:50

Audio 2

Uganda's compliance efforts with the Chemical Weapon Convention (CWC) protocols are facing challenges due to a lack of coordination among agencies and limited expertise. 

Since 1993, Uganda has been a state party to the CWC, committing to implement measures to prohibit the use, development, production, stockpiling, or transfer of chemical weapons or their precursors, except for specific purposes such as research, medical, or pharmaceutical use.   

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which implements the convention protocols, defines chemical weapons as substances intended to cause intentional harm through their toxic properties, regardless of origin or method of production.   

Alex Ogwal, a principal general health inspector in the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development (MoGLSD) expressed concerns about coordination challenges among government agencies involved in CWC implementation. 

These challenges hinder effective reporting, posing a risk to prohibition efforts.  

//Cue in; Reporting, sometimes we…

Cue out; … aspects of it,”//   

Limited expertise and human resources further compound the situation, with frequent personnel changes disrupting continuity and progress. Ogwal highlighted the need for a stable team of experienced focal persons across agencies  alongside adequate funding.   

Ojiambo Steven, representing the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) within the national authority, emphasized the need for customs officers to receive technical training to detect chemical weapons effectively. “Yesterday, I received communication that required me to make a report on the movement of some radioactive materials, which I don’t know what it was going to do, but it came through our Mutukula border, and was exiting through another border, transiting through Uganda going to Congo. As it entered, the South African trucks that brought it, they said they were not feeling comfortable to go to Congo, I think they were fearing that maybe Congo is a barrier state, they might never go back,” he narrates. 

He underscored the importance of equipping customs officers with the necessary knowledge to handle such consignments.

//Cue in; “What I really…

Cue out; … meeting the standards,”//     

Uganda, as a CWC state party, is obligated to adopt measures to implement its obligations under the Convention, including prohibiting prohibited activities on its territory. 

The national authority, led by MoGLSD and comprising relevant government agencies, plays a vital role in overseeing CWC compliance.   

The meeting hosted by URA aimed to review Uganda's customs handling of chemical weapons, reflecting the country's commitment to fulfilling its obligations under the CWC.

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