Former National Security Coordinator, Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, who is now the Director of African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) in Algeria, has received an international award in faraway Hague, Netherlands.
The Centre was one of the two organizations jointly awarded few days ago, by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The OPCW–The Hague Award, is an annual award founded by the OPCW, as a result of their being presented with the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
The purpose of the Award is to honour and recognize individuals and institutions that have significantly contributed towards the goal of a world free of chemical weapons per the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
In a brief remark during the first day of the Twenty-Second Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, an elated Lieutenant Colonel (rtd) Gbevlo-Lartey, described the decision to award his organization, “as a wonderful surprise”.
The security capo continued, “I should admit that this is an utter surprise to all of us at the Centre, particularly as previous recipients of the award, were all world renowned in the science of chemistry and toxicology, we are not”.
Having worked closely with the OPCW to create the necessary framework in Africa to ensure peaceful use of chemistry, Lt. Col Gbevlo-Lartey said, “We at ACSRT consider this award as a recognition of total effort and impact of the African Union Commission, each regional economic communities and the network of focal points that facilitate the work of ACRT and all partners who support the work that we do. We dedicate the award to all of them”.
The former National Security Coordinator, who was appointed in March 2016 by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, as her Special Representative in-charge of Counter Terrorism Cooperation and, concurrently, as the Director, said they would continue to jointly work with OPCW to prevent the reoccurrence of chemical weapons and counter the threat of terrorism.
It would be recalled, his appointment came at a time when the African Union (AU) was strengthening its efforts in the prevention and combating of terrorism, in line with the Communiqué of the 455th meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) that was held on September 2, 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya, at the Level of Heads of State and Government.
“As we look forward, it is our resolve at the ACRT to continue to cooperate with OPCW on the African programme, in order to prevent the safe use of chemical, and counter the threat of chemical terrorism in Africa”, he said while addressing the Conference after receiving the award.
The Award, was established in 2014 from the monetary prize accompanying the Noble Prize for Peace and is supplemented by the City of The Hague.
Ambassador Üzümcü who announced the awardees earlier last month said: “This year’s winners have furthered the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to achieve a world free of chemical weapons. Both institutions tackle issues of vital global importance and at the very heart of OPCW’s work now and for years to come“.
The two trend-setting institutions are working to ensuring a world free of chemical weapons in the new security environment. Both awardees have also been addressing the threat of chemical terrorism, the ways to mitigate these risks and the need for further international cooperation.
While, ACSRT conducts important research focusing on the Africa region, which occupies a prominent place in the activities of the OPCW, the University of Rome Tor Vergata, targets the next generation CBRN practitioners.
Both institutions contribute significantly to the OPCW objective of preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons.
Background of ACSRT
The African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) was established in 2004 in Algiers, Algeria, as a structure of the African Union (AU) Commission. ACSRT contributes to and strengthens the capacity of the African Union to prevent and to combat terrorism in Africa.
To achieve its mission ACSRT conducts research and produces studies on terrorism in Africa and develops strategic policy, operational and training mechanisms for the AU and its Member States. The Centre coordinates its activities with the National Focal Points of the 55 Member States of the AU as well as with Regional Focal Points representing the seven Regional Economic Communities.
The two International Master Courses in Protection against CBRNe Events at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy aim to educate the next generation of first responders and advisors to policy makers. Since 2009 the two courses have produced over 170 international experts and developed into a respected academic benchmark in this field. The Master courses contribute to the promotion of the peaceful uses of chemistry among a new generation of CBRNe experts.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 96 per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.